a combining form meaning “uterus,” used in the formation of compound words: hysterotomy.



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Also especially before a vowel, hyster-.

Origin of hystero-

<Greek, combining form representing Greek hystéra womb, uterus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does hystero- mean?

Hystero- is a combining form used like a prefix representing the word uterus, also known as the womb, where offspring are conceived and gestate in mammals. It is often used in medical terms, especially in anatomy.

Hystero- comes from the Greek hystéra, meaning “womb,” “uterus.” If that Greek word looks familiar, it might be because you recognize another one of its derivatives: hysteria, “an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.” The ancient Greeks believed that this behavior was particular to women and caused by disturbances in the uterus. Learn more about this surprising (and problematic) etymology at our entry for hysteric.

Related to the Greek hystéra is the Latin uterus, source of the related combining form utero-. The combining form metro- can also indicate uterus.

What are variants of hystero-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, hystero- becomes hyster-, as in hysterectomy.

Examples of hystero-

An example of a medical term that features the combining form hystero- is hysterotomy, also known as uterotomy, “the operation of cutting into the uterus,” as in a C-section.

The first part of the word, hystero-, means “uterus.” What about -tomy? It is a combining form meaning “incision, cutting.” Hysterotomy literally translates to “uterus incision.”

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form -gram can refer to types of medical images, like x-rays. With this in mind, what is a hysterogram?

British Dictionary definitions for hystero-


before a vowel hyster-

combining form

indicating the uterushysterotomy

Word Origin for hystero-

from Greek hustera womb
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 hystero-



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