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variant of cephalo- before a vowel: cephalate.



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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does cephal- mean?

Cephal- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “head.” It is often used in medical and scientific terms.

Cephal- comes from the Greek kephalḗ, meaning “head.”

Cephal- is a variant of cephalo-, which loses its -o- when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use cephalo- article.

Corresponding forms of cephalo- combined to the end of words are -cephaly, -cephalic, and -cephalous, which you can learn more about in our Words That Use articles for each form.

Also deriving from kephalḗ are the combining forms encephalo- and encephal-, meaning “brain.” Discover how these forms are used in our Words That Use encephalo- and encephal- articles.

Examples of cephal-

One medical term that features cephal- is cephalalgia, meaning “headache.”

We know that cephal- means “head.” What about algia? It doesn’t have to do with algae—it actually means “pain.” Cephalalgia literally translates “head pain.”

Knowing a little Greek helps make big words like cephalalgia less of a pain in the … head.

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

Break it down!

The combining form -itis is frequently used to denote inflammation and illness. With this and the meaning of cephal- in mind, what does the medical condition cephalitis entail?

Example sentences from the Web for cephal-

Medical definitions for cephal-



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