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Chiefly British.
variant of hem-: haemangioma.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does haem- mean?

Haem- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “blood.” It is used in many medical terms, especially in pathology.

Haem- comes from the Greek haîma, meaning “blood.”

Chiefly used in British English, the combining form haem- is a variant of hem-, itself a variant of hemo- before a vowel.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use hem- and hemo- articles. 

Historically, haem- has been written as hæm-, featuring a ligature of the a and e.

Other variants of haem- used like hemo- are hema-, hemat-, and hemato-. As with haem-, all these combining forms are often spelled with an additional a in British English, as in haema-, haemo-, haemat-, and haemato-.

Also closely related to haem- are -aemia, -emia, -haemia, and -hemia, which are combined to the ends of words to denote blood conditions.

Examples of haem-

One medical term that features the combining form haem- is haemagogue, “an agent that promotes the flow of blood.”

The first part of the word, haem-, means “blood.” The second part of the word, -agogue, is a combining form that means “leader, bringer.” It is used in medical terms to denote substances inducing expulsion or secretion. Haemagogue literally translates to “bringer of blood.”

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




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

Break it down!

One type of angioma, a kind of benign tumor, is a haemangioma. Based on the meaning of haem-, which of the following does a haemangioma consist of?

A. Lymph vessels

B. Blood vessels

C. Fatty tissue

D. Nerve cells

British Dictionary definitions for haem- (1 of 2)


US heme

/ (hiːm) /

biochem a complex red organic pigment containing ferrous iron, present in haemoglobin

Word Origin for haem

C20: shortened from haematin

British Dictionary definitions for haem- (2 of 2)


combining form
a variant (before a vowel) of haemo- Also (US): hem-
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