Breaking Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) into Word Parts



Learning the definition and spelling of a medical term such as esophagogastroduodenoscopy can be challenging.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (e-sof-a-go-gas-tro-du-od-e-NOS-ko-pe) is built from four Greek and Latin word parts. Consequently, knowing the meaning of the word parts and how they fit together to form the term makes it easier to learn.


Let us take a look at esophagogastroduodenoscopy by:

  • breaking it into word parts 
  • use the word parts to build it which will help with spelling and finding the definition


Break Into Word Parts


esophag – word root for esophagus

gastr  word root for stomach

duoden –  word root for duodenum 

-scopy – suffix for visual examination

o – combining vowel used between word parts to ease pronunciation.

O is most often used as the combining vowel, so if you are stumped as to whether to use an o or between esophag and gastr, go for the o.

Use Word Parts to Help With Spelling 

Write each word part
esophag  gastr  duoden  scopy

Add  combining vowels
esophag o gastr o duoden o scopy

Apply the Definition of Word Parts to Find the Definition


Begin with the meaning of the suffix –scopy, then move to the beginning of the term.

Visual examination of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum is the correct definition. It is an endoscopic diagnostic procedure performed with an endoscope.

At this time, you may be asking, “why not just speak medical language in plain English?” and that is a good question.  My best answer is that using medical language lends itself to clear, concise, communication, plus one word can be used instead of eight as we see in the term esophagogastroduodenoscopy.

Suggestion: Consider learning other medical terms by dividing them into word parts, as we have done here.


Myrna LaFleur Brooks is coauthor of Exploring Medical Language, 11th Edition and Basic Medical Language, 6th Edition.


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