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a combining form representing cortex in compound words: corticosteroid.
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Origin of cortico-

<Latin cortic- (stem of cortexcortex) + -o-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does cortico- mean?

Cortico- is a combining form used like a prefix representing the word cortex. It is used in medical terms, especially in anatomy and pathology.

The cortex is a scientific term for the outer region of an organ or structure, especially the brain (cerebral cortex). Right above the kidney are the adrenal glands, which have an adrenal cortex. Learn more about the adrenal glands in our article on the combining form adreno-.

Cortico- ultimately comes from the Latin cortex, meaning “bark, rind, shell, husk,” which are all outer coverings.

What are variants of cortico-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, cortico- becomes cortic-, as in corticectomy.

Examples of cortico-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features the combining form cortico- is corticosteroid, also known as a corticoid. A corticosteroid is a steroid produced by the adrenal cortex or is a synthetic version of one. Two types of corticosteroids are cortisone and cortisol.

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

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

Break it down!

The corticospinal tract carries neural information from the spinal cord to the brain. What part of the brain does the corticospinal tract connect to?

How to use cortico- in a sentence

  • O Cortico is run by Portuguese grandmothers and offers different interpretations of classic dishes.

    Fresh Picks|George Mendes|September 7, 2010|DAILY BEAST
  • In the infant cortico-spinal anastomoses are awanting, and volitional power is dependent on their establishment and development.

British Dictionary definitions for cortico-


before a vowel cortic-

combining form
indicating the cortexcorticotrophin
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 cortico-


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