Friday, March 3, 2023

Language Corner: What does the prefix "ortho" mean?


What does the prefix "ortho" mean?

The prefix ortho is derived from the Greek word orthos, meaning "right, true, straight, upright."

Examples include:

Orthodontics (noun): The branch of dentistry concerned with the treatment of irregularities of the teeth or jaws.

Orthondontic (adjective): Serving to correct or straighten the teeth.  

Orthodontist (noun): An orthodontics specialist.  A dentists who is qualified to treat irregularities of the teeth or jaws.  The orthodontist informed you that you needed braces.

Orthopedics (noun):  The branch of medicine dealing with the correction of deformities of bones or muscles.

Orthopedic (adjective) is derived from the Greek roots ortho and pedo, meaning child.  The word was coined by French physician Nicolas Andry do Bois Regard (also known as Nicholas Andry), a professor of medicine at the University of Paris.  Originally the term meant the correcting of bones or muscles of a child.  

Orthotic (nonun): An artificial support or brace for the limbs or spine, especially a supportive device inserted into a shoe, most commonly to stabilize the foot, correct alignment and provide cushioning

Orthodoxy (noun) is derived from the Greek term orthodoxia, meaning righteous/correct opinion.  It is the adherence to strict or accepted creeds, especially with regards to religious beliefs.  Hence, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church or Orthodox Judaism.

Orthodox (adjective): Of a person or their views, especially religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices} conforming to what is conventionally or traditionally accepted as right, true, established and approved

- Joanne

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