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10 Common Words in Medicine and How to Pronounce Them

Anesthesia, syringe, malignant tumor…so many words that look intimidating in medicine, but are essential to know! In today’s episode, I’ll share 10 common words used in medicine, what they mean, and how to pronounce them.

Download the free PDF to follow along with the audio and see the definition, IPA transcription, and example sentences.

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Whether you need to go to a doctor and use English, or you just want to brush up on your medical vocabulary, you’ll enjoy this episode!

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 371. And today we are going to talk about 10 words in medicine.

Hey, hey everyone. I hope you’re well and happy. Thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the InFluency Podcast. Today I have something that I actually really like doing, but I haven’t done it in a while, which is to talk about a list of useful words in different topics. Today we’re going to talk about medicine, so that you get to practice with me those words: the pronunciation, the meaning, and we’re going to practice using it in a sentence.

So I’m sure that you’ve heard most of the words that I’m going to share with you today, but if you don’t use them consistently, they’re probably not that available. And sometimes we even hear a word, but we’re not exactly sure what it means. Or sometimes we see something and we know it in our first language, and we don’t know how to say it in English. So I hope this episode is going to help you. And even if you don’t need to use those words, it’s good for pronunciation and just for general English fluency. So, let’s get started.

The first word is anesthesia. Anesthesia. You might even hear people saying it with a T sound, ‘anesTesia’, but usually it’s pronounced with a TH.

A-n’s-thee-juh. Anesthesia. Anesthesia is a medicine that doctors give to make a person unconscious or not feel pain during surgery or certain medical procedures. So it helps patients stay comfortable and unaware while the doctors perform a medical treatment. It can make someone unconscious, or you can have partial anesthesia where only a part of your body is desensitized.

Now, let’s practice it in a sentence. Anesthesia. Before surgery, patients are often given anesthesia to numb the pain. Say it again. Before surgery, patients are often given anesthesia to numb the pain.

By the way, if you want the script in front of you, and you want to read the words and read the example sentences that I’m using, then I have prepared a PDF for you with all the words, the pronunciation, the meaning, and the sentence. So you can download it for free and practice it with me. And that is a rhyme, dee-dee-dee 🙂 I had to finish it somehow. Anyway, the link is going to be in the description.

Okay. The next word is recuperate. Re-cu-pe-rate, to recuperate. It’s a verb. Re-cu-pe-rate, recuperate. Some people might pronounce it with a Y – ‘recyuperate’, but you can just drop it and say recuperate. That’s how I say it. And to recuperate is to recover or to get better from illness. Recuperate. Let’s practice it in a sentence. After the surgery, the patient will need time to rest and recuperate.

Alright, so the third word is chronic. Chronic. Chronic refers to something that lasts for a long time or keeps happening repeatedly. When we say a health condition is chronic, it means it persists over an extended period rather than getting better quickly. Chronic conditions often require ongoing management or treatment. ‘kraa’, round your lips for the R, ‘aa’ as in ‘father’, ‘kraa-nik’, ‘kraa-nik’. Example sentence. Arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause pain in the joints. Arthritis, it’s also a good word to practice. Arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause pain in the joints.

The next word is prescription. Prescription. Prescription is an instruction written by a medical practitioner that authorizes a patient to be provided a medicine or treatment.

Prescription can also be used when you talk about the medicine or treatment prescribed. Prescription. Prescription. Pre-scrip-tion, Pre-scrip-tion. Prescription. Let’s practice it in a sentence. You will need a prescription from your doctor to obtain this medication. You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to obtain this medication.

Now, if you’re asking yourself, what is the difference between medication and medicine, then I want to tell you that both of them are often used interchangeably. So, I can say “You need a prescription for this medicine”, but you can also say “You need a prescription for this medication”. But there is a slight difference.

So in essence, medicine is a more inclusive term that really talks about a wide range of substances and practices used in the field of healthcare. So for example, it could be medications, specific drugs, herbal remedies, and even medical procedures, while medication often specifically talks about drugs or substances. And it could be prescription drugs or over the counter drugs, which we’re going to talk about what that is in a little bit.

Okay. The next word is symptom. Symptom. Symptom is something that indicates the presence of a disease or disturbance. I like that word, disturbance. So symptom, spelled S Y M P T O M, is pronounced either with a P or without. So you can say ‘sym-tom’ or symptom. You can pop the P or not pop the P, both are correct. Symptom. Usually, when the P appears between two consonants, especially if the first one is an M, it often drops, like here, ‘sym-tom’. Okay? [sɪm-təm], schwa at the end. So, let’s practice it in a sentence. A cough is a common symptom of the common cold, or COVID. A cough is a common symptom of the common cold.

Good. And this is just a reminder that if you want to practice with the PDF, where you’ll see the word and how it’s written phonetically, the IPA, the definition, and an example sentence, you can download it for free. Just click the link in the description.

All right. The next word is tumor, tumor, tu-mor. So, tumor, which I’m sure you have heard this word before, is an abnormal growth of cells that might become a lump or cause illness, particularly cancer.

[tu-mər]. [tu] like the number ‘two’. And [mər] – an M sound that shifts directly to the R. Tumor. Now there are two types of tumors, cancerous and non cancerous. There’s actually also pre cancerous, but we’re going to talk about first – cancerous, and it’s also called malignant, malignant tumor, and that’s cancerous tumor. Or non cancerous, that’s called benign, benign. Malignant – benign. I hope you never need to use any of these words, but if you do, or if you hear it, I want you to know what it means. So, malignant tumor and benign tumor.

Let’s practice it in a sentence. The doctor ordered a biopsy to determine whether the tumor was cancerous. So biopsy is another important word to know. The stress is on the first syllable. BI-op-sy. Biopsy. The doctor ordered a biopsy to determine whether the tumor was cancerous. Okay.

The next word is syringe. Syringe. A syringe is a tool that doctors and nurses use to give medicine or take out blood. It has a thin tube and a plunger that moves to push in or pull out liquids.

And I remember every time we used to go to the doctors with my daughters, they would ask for a syringe, and then they would play with it in the bathtub. And it was really good because usually they did not like to take a bath. And whenever we had a syringe to play with, they would be so happy to go in and play. So I kind of liked it when we had it around. Maybe I need to reintroduce it to them, even though they’re 8 and 10, and they don’t play in the bathtub anymore. But still, something to consider. Anyway, back to the topic.

Syringe. Sy-ringe. Or the first syllable can be reduced and pronounced as ‘suh-ringe’. ‘suh-ringe’ ‘suh-ringe’. Let’s practice it in a sentence. The nurse used a syringe to give the patient their medicine. The nurse used a syringe to give the patient their medicine.

The next term, actually, is ‘over the counter’. I wanna talk about it ’cause it’s a good word to know, but also it’s fun to pronounce it. So ‘over the counter’ is by ordinary retail purchase with no need for a prescription or license. So usually we’re talking about drugs that you can buy at a drugstore without a prescription.

Now, when you pronounce this phrase, you want to connect it together. Over – long ‘ow’ as in ‘go’, over. Then connect it to the word ‘the’ – over the. And then we have the word counter: cou, coun, counter. But you can actually drop the T here and just say ‘couner’. When the T appears after an N in unstressed syllables, it is often dropped, like in the word ‘internet’, or ‘wanted’, or ‘twenty’. Same thing here, counter.

And when you say the phrase ‘over the counter’, you often drop the T. Over the counter, over the counter. So let’s practice it in a sentence. I went to the pharmacy to purchase an over the counter pain reliever for my headache. I went to the pharmacy to purchase an over the counter pain reliever for my headache.

Next up, we have the word ‘specialist’. Specialist, a specialist. Special, specialist. A specialist is a doctor whose practice is limited to a particular branch of medicine or surgery. For example, we have a cardiologist. A cardiologist is a medical specialist who focuses on the heart and cardiovascular system. Cardiologist.

Or a pediatrician. A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. Or a neurologist, a medical professional who specializes in disorders of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. A neurologist. So that’s a specialist. Spe-cia-list. Stress is on the first syllable – SPEcialist.

Let’s practice it in a sentence. A dermatologist is a specialist who treats skin related conditions. Let’s say it again. A dermatologist is a specialist who treats skin related conditions. There’s a lot of S’s and Z’s. Sssss. Dermatologist is a specialist who treats skin related conditions. There you have a tongue twister here, and we didn’t even plan it. I love it when it happens.

All right. The 10th word for today is pharmacist. A pharmacist is a healthcare professional trained to prepare and dispense medications. Phar-ma-cist. Pharmacist. The stress is on the first syllable. And just for fun, cause it’s the last word for today, I’m going to introduce you some similar words, words with the root ‘pharma’. For example, pharmaceutical. So pharmaceutical is relating to drugs or medications. You’d often hear it when people talk about pharmaceutical companies.

And Pharmacy. Pharmacy is the place where medications are prepared, dispensed, and sold. Pharmacy. Prescription medications and over the counter medications. Now you know it. Now you know it. Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of drugs and their interactions with the body. Pharmacology, pharmacology.

Now, there’s more, but I’m not going to bother you because I only promised 10 and I’ve already given you more than 10 to work on and practice. So before we wrap up, let’s practice the word pharmacist in a sentence. The pharmacist recommended an over the counter medication to relieve the patient’s symptoms. You see how we collected some of the words that you already know here in one sentence? Let’s do it again. The pharmacist recommended an over the counter medication to relieve the patient’s symptoms. Patient’s symptoms.

All right. Well done. I hope you enjoyed this practice. If you did, let me know. And also don’t forget to download the PDF, the free PDF with this list of words: IPA, which is the International Phonetic Alphabet writing of each word; loose transcription, so we can easily read it the way it’s pronounced; the definition, and an example sentence. Okay. I hope you enjoy it. Take care, have a beautiful day. And I’ll speak to you soon.


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
371. 10 Common Words in Medicine and How to Pronounce Them
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2 Responses

  1. Dr Hadar,very useful episode.
    I am an avid crossword grid solver.Frequently appearing word related with medical science is Chiropodist-Dictionary meaning is a doctor who treats feet particularly affected by corn growth.

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