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a combining form meaning “blood,” used in the formation of compound words: hemocyte.
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Also hema-, hemato-; especially before a vowel, hem-; especially British, haemo-.

Origin of hemo-

<New Latin, combining form representing Greek haîma blood
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does hemo- mean?

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

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

What are variants of hemo-?

There are many variants of the combining form hemo-.

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, hemo- becomes hem-, as in hemal. Other variants of hemo- are hema-, hemato-, and hemat-.

In British English, these combining forms are often spelled with an additional a, as in haemo-, haem-, haema-, haemato-, and haemat-. Historically, these forms have been spelled with a ligature of the a and e, as in hæmo-.

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

You can learn all about the specific applications for each of these forms at our Words That Use articles for them.

Examples of hemo-

One example of a medical term that you may have encountered that features the combining form hemo- is hemocyte, meaning “blood cell.”

The hemo- part of hemocyte means “blood.” The second part of the word, -cyte, is a combining form that means “cell.” Hemocyte literally translates to “blood cell.”

And a hemorrhage, from the Greek haimorrhagía, is “a profuse discharge of blood.” The -rhhage part of the word means “rupture, profuse discharge, abnormal flow.” So, hemorrhage is literally an “abnormal flow of blood.”

Finally, you’ve probably heard of (and hopefully haven’t gotten) a hemorrhoid, an abnormally large vein in the anorectal area. It comes from the Greek haimorroḯda, meaning “discharghing blood.”

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form -phobia means “fear.” With that in mind, what is hemophobia?

How to use hemo- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hemo-


combining form
a US variant of haemo-
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

Scientific definitions for hemo-


A prefix meaning “blood,” as in hemophilia, a disorder in which blood fails to clot, or hematology, the scientific study of blood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.