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a combining form meaning “gland,” used in the formation of compound words: adenovirus.
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Also especially before a vowel, aden-.

Origin of adeno-

<Greek, combining form of adḗn gland; akin to Latin inguen groin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does adeno- mean?

Adeno- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “gland.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in anatomy.

Adeno- comes from the Greek adḗn, meaning “gland.” This Greek root is ultimately the source of adenoids, the enlarged masses of lymphoid tissue in the upper pharynx, often obstructing breathing through the nasal passages.

What are variants of adeno-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, adeno- becomes aden, as in adenalgia.

Examples of adeno-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features adeno- is adenopathy, “enlargement or disease of the glands,” especially lymphatic glands.

The combining form -pathy is ultimately from the Greek pathos, meaning “suffering, sensation.” It can be used in compound words to indicate “disease.” We already know that adeno- means “gland.” So, adenopathy literally translates to “gland disease.”

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form -tomy means “cutting” or “incision (into organ).” If a surgeon performs an adenotomy, what parts of the body are they cutting into?

British Dictionary definitions for adeno-


before a vowel aden-

combining form
gland or glandularadenoid; adenology

Word Origin for adeno-

New Latin, from Greek adēn gland
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 adeno-


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