Medical Vocabulary for Kids
The human body is an amazing work of art. There are so many wonderful parts that work together to help you run, jump, and play. Just as we use language to communicate with one another, doctors and other scientists use a special medical language to describe things that deal with the body.
Sometimes understanding things about the body can be difficult if you are not familiar with the medical language. Medical glossaries can help you learn about the body and about diseases and conditions that affect the body.
The following glossary lists common terms that describe parts of the body, diseases and conditions, disease organisms, and other medical terms.
Popular Medical Term Definitions for Children
Allergies - Allergies are an abnormal immune system response to basically harmless substances. These substances that cause allergies are called allergens, and if you are allergic to these substances, your immune system will behave as if the substance is dangerous to your body and will attempt to fight it and get rid of it.
Amputate - Amputate means to cut off or remove a limb, usually a leg or an arm.
Anesthesia - Anesthesia is the use of medication during a medical or surgical procedure to take away the sensation of pain and to make you unconscious for surgery.
Antibiotics - Antibiotics are medications that treat infections caused by bacteria.
Asthma - Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes the airways in the lungs to become narrow and swell. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Bacteria - Bacteria are microscopic organisms that are found all over Earth and even inside the bodies of living organisms. Some bacteria are beneficial to humans, while other bacteria can be very harmful by causing diseases.
Biopsy - A biopsy is a medical test in which a small amount of cells or tissue is removed to examine it for signs of disease.
Blood - Blood is a fluid in the body that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body's cells and takes away waste products from those cells.
Blood Pressure Cuff - A blood pressure cuff is a device used to measure a person's blood pressure. It is placed around the arm and then inflated and gradually deflated to measure the blood flow.
Blood Test - A blood test is a laboratory test done on blood to help doctors check for certain conditions and diseases. During a typical blood test, a needle is inserted into a vein in the arm and a small amount of blood is withdrawn.
Brain - The brain is the control center of the nervous system. It controls practically everything the body does.
Broken Bone - A broken bone is a term that describes a break or a crack in a bone. Broken bones occur from trauma to the bone or from disease.
Bruise - A bruise occurs on the skin when minor trauma causes the capillaries to allow blood to flow into the surrounding tissues.
Cancer - Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells become abnormal and start to divide uncontrollably. A tumor or malignant growth typically develops, and it can spread to other tissues and other parts of the body.
Cartilage - Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue that covers the ends of bones at a joint. It is also used to give support and shape to certain structures such as the nose, ears, and windpipe.
Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is the use of very strong medications to treat cancer.
Chicken Pox - Chicken Pox is a common childhood viral infection that causes a skin rash that is red and itchy.
Congestion - The term congestion describes an excess of fluid or mucus in the respiratory system, either the lungs or the nose.
Constipation - Constipation is a term that describes bowel movements that are hard to pass and/or infrequent.
Cough - A cough is a reflex mechanism that helps to keep your airways and throat clear. Coughing helps the body to protect itself, and it also helps it to heal.
Cuts - Cuts are wounds or incisions in the skin that are caused by sharp-edged objects or tools.
Dehydration - Dehydration is a condition of the body that happens when the loss of body fluids is greater than the amount of fluids being taken in.
Diabetes - Diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body is able to turn blood sugar into energy.
Diarrhea - Diarrhea is a term that describes the frequent passage of bowel movements that are soft, watery, and loose.
Disinfectants - Disinfectants are chemical substances that are used to kill microorganisms that live on non-living objects such as floors and countertops.
DNA - DNA is the hereditary material that is found in the cells of humans and nearly all other organisms.
Earache - An earache is a sharp, burning, or dull pain that occurs in one or both of the ears.
Enamel - Enamel is the hard, mineralized covering of the teeth.
Epidermis - The epidermis is the outer skin layer.
Fever - A fever is an abnormally high body temperature. Fevers are typically accompanied by shivering.
Fracture - Fracture is another term for a broken bone.
Frenulum - A frenulum is a small fold of tissue that is used to restrict the motion of an organ in the body.
Genes - The gene is the basic unit of inheritance, and genes are segments of DNA found along a chromosome.
Germs - Germs are microscopic organisms that can cause disease. Examples of germs are bacteria and viruses.
Glucose - Glucose is a type of sugar that the body uses to make energy. Glucose comes from foods rich in carbohydrates.
Headache - A headache is a pain in any region of the head or upper neck. There are several different types of headaches, such as tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines.
Heart - The heart is an organ in the body that pumps blood throughout the entire body.
Hormone - A hormone is a chemical that is released by cells and glands of the body. The hormones send out messages that affect cells in other parts of the body.
Immune System - The immune system is the body's defense mechanism against infections. It is made up of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to ward off invaders.
Infection - An infection is the growth of a germ inside of the body. These germs can be fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Influenza - Influenza is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus. Influenza is commonly known as the flu.
Insulin - Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas. It helps to regulate the metabolism of fat and carbohydrate in the body.
IV - IV means intravenous, or into a vein. It is a means of getting fluids or medications into the body.
Joints - Joints are the places where two bones come together. They help to hold the bones together but also allow movement.
Keratin - Keratin is a strong protein that makes up teeth, skin, nails, and hair.
Kidney - The kidneys are a pair of organs in the body whose function is to filter the blood, along with regulating electrolyte balance, controlling the body's fluid balance, and removing waste from the body.
Lungs - The lungs are part of the respiratory system. The main function of the lungs is to transport oxygen from the air to the bloodstream and to take carbon dioxide from the bloodstream and release it back into the air.
Melanin - Melanin is a pigment that gives hair and skin its color.
MRI - MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, is a noninvasive medical test that allows doctors to see the soft tissues inside the body.
Mucus - Mucus is a slippery substance produced by mucous membranes and glands. Its function is to coat organ membranes in order to prevent pollutants from invading and damaging the organs.
Nausea - Nausea is a sensation of discomfort in the upper stomach that makes a person feel as though they are going to vomit.
Navel - The navel is commonly called the belly button. It is actually a scar that is formed when a newborn baby's umbilical cord is removed.
Nervous System - The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The purpose of the nervous system is to receive information from various parts of the body and to send information from the brain back to the different areas in the body.
Nicotine - Nicotine is a toxic substance that is the main ingredient in tobacco.
Nutrition - Nutrition is the process of obtaining or supplying the food necessary for proper health and growth.
Organ - An organ is a structure in the body that contains two or more different types of tissue that function together for a common goal. Examples of organs include the heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, and skin.
Operation - An operation is surgery that is performed on a patient.
Pancreas - The pancreas is a gland organ that is part of the digestive and endocrine systems. It produces several hormones, including insulin.
Puberty - Puberty is the process of physical changes that a child's body goes through as it becomes an adult body.
Pulse - The pulse is the heart rate. It tells the number of times the heart beats per unit of time, typically one minute.
Red Blood Cells - Red blood cells are the most common blood cell type found in the body, and they deliver oxygen to the body's tissues.
Retina - The retina is a tissue layer in the back of the eye that is light-sensitive. It converts visual images into signals that the brain can interpret.
Rx - Rx is an abbreviation that means prescription.
Saliva - Saliva is a clear liquid that is produced by the salivary glands. Saliva helps to break food down during the process of food digestion.
Seizure - A seizure is an abnormal discharge of electricity in the brain that causes changes in how a person acts or feels.
Sore Throat - A sore throat is a discomfort or pain in the throat that typically is an indication of pharyngitis. Sore throats are usually caused by viral or bacterial infections.
Sprain - A sprain is a joint injury that results from stretching a ligament beyond its normal capacity.
Stethoscope - A stethoscope is a medical device that is used to listen to the inside of a person's body. It is most commonly used to examine the lungs and heart.
Stitches - Stitches are loops of thread that doctors use to sew up wounds.
Stomachache - A stomachache is a pain in the area of the stomach.
Taste Buds - Taste buds are sensory organs that are found on the tongue. They allow people to experience different tastes such as salty, sweet, bitter, and sour.
Throat Culture - A throat culture is a medical test that determines whether there is a fungal or bacterial infection in the throat.
Transfusion - A transfusion is a method of transferring blood or blood products from one person to another.
Tumor - A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue.
Ultrasound - Ultrasound is a medical procedure that uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs.
Umbilical Cord - The umbilical cord is the cord that connects the developing fetus to the placenta.
Vaccine - A vaccine is a substance used to provide immunity against one or more diseases.
Vertebrae - Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine.
Virus - A virus is a microscopic organism that reproduces inside of a host cell, and they cause disease within a body.
White Blood Cells - White blood cells are part of the immune system, and they help to fight infections in the body.
Wheeze - A wheeze is a whistling sound that is made in the airways during breathing. It is a common symptom in asthma attacks.
Zoonosis - Zoonosis refers to an infectious disease that can be spread from animals to humans or from humans to animals.
X-ray Machine - An X-ray machine is a medical device that uses electromagnetic radiation to take pictures of the inside of the body.
More Medical Glossaries for Kids
Word! A Glossary of Medical Words: This KidsHealth page from Nemours provides a medical glossary with lots of definitions.
Medical Terms for Kids: A short list of medical terms related to illnesses and their treatment.
Philips Medical Games: A site with fun and interesting games to help kids and adults learn about medicine.
Basic Medical Terminology I: A fun quiz to help kids learn basic medical vocabulary.
Ed's Medical Terminology Page: A page of word forms to aid in the study of medical terminology.
Medical Terminology Activities: This site provides lots of medical vocabulary practice.
Medical Terminology Quiz: A short quiz to test medical terminology knowledge.
Medical Terminology: A nice medical terminology glossary from Emory EMS.
Tips on Understanding Medical Terminology: This page provides three tips for understanding medical terms.
Understanding Medical Words: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine: This site provides a tutorial to help with understanding medical terminology.
Medical Terminology: An ENT glossary of medical vocabulary.
Find Your Healthcare Degree Fast