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a combining form meaning “flow,” “discharge,” used in the formation of compound words: gonorrhea.



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Also -rhea, -rhoea, -rrhoea .
Compare rheo-.

Origin of -rrhea

FromNew Latin -rrhoea, from Greek -rrhoia, combining form representing rhoía “a flow,” akin to rheîn “to flow, stream”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does -rrhea mean?

The combining form -rrhea is used like a suffix meaning “flow” or “discharge.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in pathology.

The form -rrhea comes from the Greek rhoía, meaning “a flow” (like a stream). In Greek, the word rhoía helped form the Greek diárrhoia, literally “a flowing through,” source of the English diarrhea. Cha cha cha.

What are variants of -rrhea?

Variants of -rrhea include -rhea (spelled with a single r) and, chiefly in British English, -rrhoea and -rhoea (spelled with an o). The British English spelling of diarrhea is diarrhoea, for instance.

Examples of -rrhea

An example of a relatively common word that features -rrhea is gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

The first half of the word, gono-, means “sexual” or “reproductive.” We know that –rrhea means “discharge.” Gonorrhea literally translates to “sexual discharge.”

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form pyo- means “pus.” With this in mind, what does the medical term pyorrhea mean?

Medical definitions for -rrhea



Flow; discharge:seborrhea.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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