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variant of chole- before a vowel: choline.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does chol- mean?

Chol- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “bile” or “gall.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in physiology.

Chol- comes from the Greek cholḗ, meaning “bile.” Bile is a yellowish-green liquid secreted by the liver. The Greek cholḗ is also source of the word cholic.

Chol- is a variant of chole-, which loses its –e– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use chole- article.

Examples of chol-

Have you ever heard the word cholagogue? It means “promoting the flow of bile.” It can seem like a daunting word, but we can use chol- to make sense of it.

So, the combining form chol- means “bile,” as we know. The second part of the word, the combining form -agogue, ultimately comes from a Greek verb meaning “lead, bring.” In medicine, -agogue is used to denote something that causes expulsion or secretion—but elsewhere, this form is used to mean “leader, bringer,” as in demagogue. That means the word cholagogue literally translates to “bile bringer.” Gross.

What are some other words that use the combining form chol-?

What are some other forms that chole– may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the exact letters chol- is necessarily using the combining forming chol- to denote “bile, gall.” Consider cholla, a type of cactus with knobby outgrowths and yellow spines.

Break it down!

An angioscopy is a kind of medical imaging that shows the inside of the blood vessels. What parts of the body does a cholangioscopy specifically show?

How to use chol- in a sentence

Medical definitions for chol-


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