a combining form meaning “side,” “rib,” “lateral,” “pleura,” used in the formation of compound words: pleuropneumonia.



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Also especially before a vowel, pleur-.

Origin of pleuro-

see origin at pleura, -o- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does pleuro- mean?

Pleuro- is a combining form used like a prefix variously meaning “side,” “rib,” “lateral,” and “pleura.” Pleura is a term for the membrane around the lungs and makes a lining for the chest cavity; its adjective form is pleural.

Pleuro- is often used in medical and scientific terms, including in anatomy and zoology.

Pleur- comes from the Greek pleurá, meaning “side (of the body); rib.”

What are variants of pleuro-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, pleuro- becomes pleur-, as in pleuralgia.

Examples of pleuro-

An example of a medical term you may have encountered that features pleuro- is pleurocentesis. Also known as thoracentesis, pleurocentesis is a medical procedure that involves the insertion of a hollow needle into the pleural cavity of the chest.

The first part of the word, pleuro-, refers to the pleura (of the lungs). The second portion of the word, -centesis, means “a puncture or perforation,” especially to remove fluid. While the word pleurocentesis may seem intimidating, now you know the word literally just means “side puncture.”

Another medical term that derives from the Greek pleurá is pleurisy, “inflammation of the pleura, with or without a liquid effusion in the pleural cavity, characterized by a dry cough and pain in the affected side.”

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

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

While identical in pronunciation and close spelling, the adjectives pleural (which is related to pleuro-) and plural are not related. Discover the history of plural at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB) is a rare form of cancer, most common in young children. Based on the name alone, where does the cancer originate?

British Dictionary definitions for pleuro-


before a vowel pleur-

combining form

of or relating to the sidepleurodont; pleurodynia
indicating the pleurapleurotomy

Word Origin for pleuro-

from Greek pleura side
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 pleuro-



Side; lateral:pleurocentrum.
Pleura; pleural:pleurotomy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.