Chol- / chole-

This is a root term of Greek origin. In both presentations [-chol-] or [-chole-] it means "bile" or "gall". The English word "gall" is of Anglosaxon origin and means "bile", referring to its yellowish-green color. The word [bile] is of Latin origin, from [bilis].

These root terms are used in many medical words, such as:

cholecystitis: [cyst] means "sac" or "bladder", [itis] means "inflammation" or "infection". Gallbladder inflammation
• cholecystectomy: [cyst] means "sac" or "bladder", [ectomy] means "removal". Gallbladder removal
• cholangiogram: [angi] means "vessel", [(o)gram] means "examination". Examination of a bile vessel
• choledocholithiasis: Condition of stones in the bile duct. Click on the link for more information
• cholera: The suffix [-era] is "flow" or "discharge". The term refers to the constant vomiting of bile in patients afflicted with this disease. This term has been heatedly discussed and this is but one of the theories as to the etymology of the word.

In the early days of physiology, yellow bile was considered one of the "four humors" that made up human personality, temperament, and health. A person with an excess of yellow bile would be considered bad tempered, angry, or "choleric". Observe how the root term [chole] also is found in the word "choleric".

1. "The Language of Medicine" John H. Dirckx Pub: Harper & Row 1976
2. "Medical Meanings" Haubrich, William S. Am Coll Phys Philadelphia 1997
3. "The origin of Medical Terms" Skinner, AH, 1970