The word [pathology] is formed by two components. The root term [-path-] arises from the Greek [πάθος], meaning “suffering”. The term [πάθος], or [pathos] was first used by Galen of Pergamon (129AD - 200AD) (see accompanying image) to denote an alteration of a vital process. The suffix [-(o)logy] also has Greek origin from [logos] or [λόγος], meaning a "book", a "treatise" or "to study". Therefore [pathology] or [παθολογία] is the “study of disease or conditions”. In simpler terms the word [pathology] is also used as a synonym for "sickness", "disease", or "condition".

The root term [-path-] can be found in many medical terms such as:

• Pathology: Study of disease

• Pathophysiology: This combined root adds the root term [-phys-] meaning “function” Study of the function of disease (a disease in action)

Pathognomonic: See definition here

• Pathogenesis: The suffix [-(o)genesis] means “creation”, or “origin”. Origin of a disease

 Galen of Pergamon
Original image courtesy of Images from the History of Medicine at