[ toh-sis ]
/ ˈtoʊ sɪs /
Save This Word!

noun Pathology.

a drooping of the upper eyelid.
prolapse or drooping of any organ.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of ptosis

1735–45; <New Latin <Greek ptṓsis a falling
pto·tic [toh-tik], /ˈtoʊ tɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does -ptosis mean?

The combining form -ptosis is used like a suffix meaning “downward displacement or position.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in pathology.

The combining form -ptosis comes from the Greek ptṓsis, meaning “a falling.”

Note that ptosis is also used on its own as a word meaning “a drooping of the upper eyelid” or “prolapse or drooping of any organ.” And pay attention to words that use the combining form -ptosis; sometimes the p is pronounced, other times it’s silent.

Examples of -ptosis

The combining form –ptosis can be found in the names of several medical conditions, such as enteroptosis, meaning “the abnormal descent of the intestines in the abdominal cavity.” Enteroptis is usually associated with “the downward displacement of other viscera.”

The first part of the word, entero-, means “intestine.” And, as we now know, -ptosis means “falling.” Taking both elements together, enteroptosis literally translates to “falling intestines.” (You definitely don’t want that.)

What are some words that use the combining form -ptosis?

What are some other forms that -ptosis may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form colo- represents the colon, as in the part of the intestines. With this in mind, what is the medical condition coloptosis in everyday language?

British Dictionary definitions for ptosis

/ (ˈtəʊsɪs) /

noun plural ptoses (ˈtəʊsiːz)

prolapse or drooping of a part, esp the eyelid
ptotic (ˈtɒtɪk), adjective
C18: from Greek: a falling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for ptosis (1 of 2)

[ tōsĭs ]

n. pl. pto•ses (-sēz)

Abnormal lowering or drooping of an organ or part, especially a drooping of the upper eyelid caused by muscle weakness or paralysis.

Medical definitions for ptosis (2 of 2)



Downward displacement or position:blepharoptosis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Learn A New Word Right Now!