Hazel Tank's Word Lists - Words That Bug Us

Bugbear Words

BUGBEAR, n. 1: an imaginary goblin or specter used to excite fear. 2 a: an object or source of dread. b: a continuing source of irritation: PROBLEM. (Webster's)

In medical transcription, sound-alike words are our bugbears, AKA bug-a-boos, which cause "fear or distress out of proportion to their importance." Knowledge of proper terminology plus handy references such as the following cross-referenced list should be of some help in getting us over these fears. This list will probably never be completed, but is an ongoing event.


abduct, v.t., to draw away from a position parallel to the median axis. Think of abduction, which means a taking away.
, v.t., to draw toward a position near or parallel to the median axis.

aberrant, adj., wandering or deviating from the normal; abnormal. apparent, adj., visible, obvious, evident.

abscess, n., a circumscribed, localized collection of pus, caused by infection, and by decomposition of tissue.
, adj., refers to aphthae (singular "aphtha"), small ulcers of the oral mucosa.

any more -- Having to do with volume. We cannot have any more of these episodes.
-- Having to do with time. We will not see him anymore.

any way -- A pathway or method of accomplishing something. Example: Is there any way I can go to town today?
-- In any case. Example: Anyway, she did not go to the party. She was not taking the pills anyway. (The two-word version usually, but not always, begins or ends a sentence or phrase)

ACE, acronym for angiotensin-converting enzyme (among various other acronyms, but this is the most common).
, a brand name for bandages, wraps, and other OTC medical supplies.
, nonmedical word; a playing card (ace of hearts, etc.); a supreme achiever (such as a flying ace).

access, n., admittance; "access to."
, n., a real or imaginary straight line going through a structure around which it revolves, or would turn if it could revolve.
, n., the degree or state of surplus, or beyond the usual, as in "There was excess peritoneal fluid present."

advice, n., a recommendation or counsel.
, v., to give advice or counsel.

affect - influence - a verb, except in the case of the psychiatric meanings. If you can substitute the word "influence" - use affect, e.g. affect the outcome, (except for the psych meaning of general attitude; facial affect, etc.) A doctor may refer to the "affected area," for instance.
- result or cause - Can be a noun or a verb (result or cause). If you can substitute "cause," "perform" or performance" for this word, it is a verb. e.g., effect of a drug, effective medication, effect a change, etc. Note: "mass effect"

agonist (Pharmacology) - a drug that stimulates activity of cell molecules in a way they would be stimulated by substances naturally produced.
- a substance that inhibits or counteracts the action of another.

all together, meaning many together. "Let's do it all together."
, adv., completely. "Will stop medications altogether." Can also mean in the nude. "She posed in the altogether."

allusion, n., an indirect reference.
, n., an adroit or clever escape, not to be confused with allusion, an indirect reference, or illusion, an unreal or misleading image of perception.
, n. an unreal or misleading image of perception.

allude, vt., to make indirect reference. "She alluded to her mother's history."
, v.t., to avoid. "The diagnosis eludes us."

all ready Implying that all is ready. (We are all ready now, i.e., all of us are ready.)
, adv., wholly ready; refers to time. (It's already Tuesday. - He had already left.)

all right - adj., 1. SATISFACTORY (the film is all right for children). 2. SAFE, WELL (He was ill, but he's all right now.) 3. AGREEABLE, PLEASING. adv. 1. Beyond doubt; certainly (She has pneumonia, all right.) 2. WELL ENOUGH (He does all right in school.)
- In general, this form is not in current usage. The meanings are the same as for ALL RIGHT, and the two-word version is more generally accepted and preferred.

anuresis, n., A condition of inability to urinate. Total lack of urine.
, n., bedwetting.

any more - adj.+noun (two words) (He is not to drink any more alcohol.) Is it possible to use this sentence without the word "any"? If so, use the two-word version. Also, if the phrase or sentence indicates QUANTITY, use the two-word version.
- adv., (She does not see her children anymore.) This one-word version does not indicate quantity, but indicates TIME.

any time - adj.+noun {two words} (We do not have any time for her.) Can you conceivably use this sentence without the word "any"? If so, use the two-word version.
- adv., at any time whatever. (We will see her anytime.) This applies to ALL words that begin with "any" -they often are all one word, depending on usage.

apophysis, n., a projecting part of a bone.
, n., the end of a long bone,, usually wider than the long portion of the bone, either composed of cartilage or separated from the shaft by a disk of cartilage.

hypophysis, n., pituitary gland (hypophysis cerebri); pharyngeal hypophysis (a mass in the wall of the pharynx similar in appearance to the hypophysis).
, n., a theory that appears to explain certain phenomena, and is used as the basis of experimentation and reasoning to prove the theory.

appose, v., to set one thing beside the other. "I apposed the wound with 2-0 silk."
, v., to be on the opposite side of an argument/debate. "He opposed the use of force."

apposition, n., setting of one thing beside the other, as in suturing wounds, ("The skin was in apposition...") or "infant skull sutures in apposition."
, n., act of being opposite. "Thumb and index finger in opposition.

assure, vt., to make sure of. Syn: ensure.
, vt., to make certain of. Syn: assure. "Hemostasis was ensured (or assured)." Also, a brand name of a dietary supplement when capitalized.
, vt. To guarantee protection; used mostly in a monetary sense.

attain, v., to reach as an end, to achieve, to get to a certain goal or position.
, v., to gain, to possess, usually by planned effort.

aural, adj., pertaining to the ear or sense of hearing. Sounds like oral, which pertains to the mouth.

auricle, n., the ear.
, n. one who predicts the future and/or gives advice.

bare, naked, nude, denuded. Can be a noun (The patient is bare) or a verb (...to bare her soul).
- 1. noun - A large furry animal. 2.verb - Patient is able to bear weight.

Bair hugger - a plastic warming blanket.
- A term describing someone who gives big hugs.

basal - pertaining to the base.
- an herb.

Beaver - blade; knife; keratome; a trade name.
- a semiaquatic animal.
- a medical sign. See under SIGN in Dorland's.
- trade name for a retractor.

breath, n., the expiration of air; the faculty of breathing.
, v., to pause and rest before continuing. To draw air into and expel it from the lungs.

born, adj., relating to birth.
, part of verb to bear. e.g. "The test was borne out by physical examination.

cabbage, n., a green leafy vegetable.
, (pronounced "cabbage") - an acronym for coronary artery bypass graft.

Cain, The name of the first recorded murderer, also part of the expression "...raise Cain.
, n., (1) a walking stick. (2) a type of plant.

callous, adj., hard; like callus.
, n., AKA callosity, localized hyperplasia of the horny layer of epidermis due to pressure or friction.

carotene, n., the yellow or red coloring found in egg yolk, carrots, etc.
, n., a nitrogenous substance found the muscles, brain, and blood of vertebrates.
, n., found in muscle and blood, excreted in the urine. keratin, n., a highly insoluble protein (scleroprotein) in epidermis, hair, nails, and part of the teeth.

caudate, adj., having a tail, such as sperm cells, caudate lobe, etc.
, adj., having a notochord (in fetus).

CAT - acronym for computerized axial tomography.
- a furry animal of the feline family.
- Trade name for a highway construction vehicle.

checkup, see followup.

chord, n., a musical phrase; a Latin form of cord.
, n., a rope or rope-like structure or sinew, vocal cords, etc.

cite, v.t., to bring forward, as for illustration; to quote; to summon to appear as in citation. To relate an incident; "she cited the history in a quiet manner."
, n., (Oph) vision; what your eyes have.
, n., a place or position, as "The site of the abscess was noted."

claustrum - the thin layer of gray matter between the white matter of the external capsule and the extreme capsule of the brain.
, n., the thin, milky fluid which is secreted by the mammary glands around the time of parturition.

circumduction, the rotational movement, active or passive, of an eye or of an extremity.
, upward movement of only one eye in testing for vertical divergence. Unless the dictation is quite specific, it is often difficult to tell this from circumduction. Also referred to as supraduction, superduction, and supravergence.

coarse, adj., meaning rough, vulgar, harsh.
, n., a pathway, such as a race course, or the course of events, such as course of a disease.

complement, n., something that fills up, completes. or makes perfect, as "The baby has a full complement of fingers and toes." Also used in lab test, complement fixation.
, n., an expression of esteem. respect, or admiration. A flattering remark.

cor, n., the heart.
, n., the central part of something; v.t., to take out the core of something.
(pronounced "core"), n., corpus; also a group or body of individuals organized and under common direction; Marine Corps, Medical Corps, etc.

council, n., an assembly or meeting for consultation, advice or recommendations.
, vt., to give professional advice., n., advice, especially that given at a time of consultation.

cystitome (Oph) - an instrument used to open the capsule of the lens of the eye. The cystitome spelled with the letter "i" pertains to the eye.
cystotome (Urol)
- an instrument used for incising the bladder.

Coke - a commercial soft drink.
- In urology, name of a pouch created during surgery. Pronounced "coke."

decision, n., the settling of a controversy; a conclusion arrived at, as of choices, or a controversy.
, n., the incision or cutting into, as of a capsule of a cataract, or the cervix uteri.

diaphysis, n., the shaft of a long bone between the ends (the epiphyses).
, n., separation (or dislocation) of two bones that are normally attached without the presence of a true joint; sometimes refers to the separation of muscles, as in diastasis recti abdominis.
, n., constitution of the body that predisposes one to certain diseases, as in, "The patient appeared to have a hemorrhagic diathesis, although there was no family history of hemophilia." Also, "No familial diatheses were reported."

discreet, adj., circumspect, prudent, good judgment.
, adj., separate, composed of distinct parts or discontinuous elements. As in, "There were large discrete nodules noted." A way to remember this is to note that the letter "T" separates the two "Es" in this word.

dyskaryosis - aberrant nuclear arrangement or structure; may be seen in malignancy or cell death.
- aberrant keratin production and/or disposition.

dysphagia, n., difficulty in swallowing. Think of phagocytes, which are cells that "eat" other cells - lymphs.
, n., impairment or loss of the power to use or understand speech; caused by disease of, or injury to the brain (such as in a stroke).

ear, n., - Be careful not to confuse with "air" in such phrases as "air-bone gap," in audiology (NEVER "ear-bone gap," or "air-borne gap").

elicit, v.t., to draw out, as in "We could elicit little information as to the patient's past medical history."
, adj., unlawful, improper, not permitted, as in, "The patient denies use of illicit drugs."

every day, meaning "each day." (Two words, no matter how the Toyota advertisements spell it.)
, adj., meaning common, generic. "He wore his everyday clothes to church." MUST precede a noun.

exacerbate, v., to make worse
, n., a flaring up or making worse. "The rash was exacerbated by cold weather."
- n., the state of being exasperated or frustrated, sort of like a proofreader feels when the word is substituted for exacerbation.

flare, flareup, n. and adj., (one word) in medicine can refer to a redness/flaring of the skin; also used in such expressions as "flareup" (of a disease).
flare up
, v., (two words) used with any expression of the verb "to be"; e.g., "Her condition will flare up when she is stressed."
, n., talent, as in "He has a flair for..." - style - There is a certain flair to her mode of dress."

flexor, n. and adj., a muscle that flexes a joint.
, n., the bent part of an organ or structure, e.g. sigmoid flexure.

FOLLOWUP - As a noun, it is all one word. Examples:

FOLLOW UP - The verb is two words. Usually, a form of the verb "to be" is somewhere in the sentence, as follows:

FOLLOW-UP - As an adjective. The purist will use a hyphenated form for the compound adjective. However, from many years' usage, it is generally accepted in medicine, and elsewhere, to use the noun/adjective, one-word form. So, either one word or hyphenated is acceptable for adjective form of followup.

Incidentally, CHECKUP, FLAREUP and WORKUP (three more great medical words!) follow the same principle.

foul - adj., (1) Offensive to the senses, as a foul odor, foul play. (2) Out of bounds, such as foul ball.
- n., a bird of any kind, especially a domestic chicken, duck, goose or turkey.

galactorrhea - n., abnormal flow of breast milk.
- n., milk-like appearance to the urine.

gauge, n., a standard measure, as of wire; v.t., to find the exact measurement of.
, n., a hollow chisel used for cutting or removing bone or cartilage; v.t. to scoop out, as with a gouge.

hart, n., a type of deer
, n., the center of the vascular system of mammals, essentially a pump, cf cor.

hippocampus, n., a "horned" part of the brain.
, n., a large herbivorous "river horse" of African inland waters.

humeral, adj., pertaining to the humerus bone.
, adj., referring to a body fluid (such as a hormone).
, n., 1. something funny. 2. a bodily fluid (such as lymph). 2a. fluid or juice from an animal or plant.
, n., pl. the body fluids
, adj., characterized by humor.
, n., a long bone of the upper arm.

hyper-, prefix meaning excessive, above, beyond.
, prefix meaning deficient, decrease, under, beneath, below.

ileum, n., the part of the small intestine located between the jejunum and the large intestine. Ref: ileus, ileac (when referring to the intestine).
, n., the superior portion of the hip bone. Ref: iliac artery.

incite, v., to cause to happen, as to incite a riot.
, n., the ability to see within oneself, one's motives, seeing intuitively.

infra- prefix, meaning under, beneath, below.
, adj., that part closest to the center, or within. (Sometimes dictated instead of intra-, but not really preferred.) inter-, prefix, meaning between.
, prefix, meaning within (sometimes dictated as inner, which is okay, but not really preferred).

intralocular, adj., within the loculus of a structure (rarely used).
, adj., within the eye.

its -- possessed by something; "The bear could not pick up its shadow."
-- A contraction of it is. If you can substitute "it is" in the sentence, then this is the form to use.

knot - a tie or twist, such as in suture knots; a node/ganglion; a difficult situation, such as Gordian knot.
- nothing; "all for naught."
- negative.

loath adj., reluctant, unwilling. "The patient is loath to undertake surgery at this time.
v., dislike intensely; hate; detest.

lookout, n. (one word) a person who stands watch against danger.
look out
, v., (two words) a warning of danger

loop, n., doubling back or fold, of a cord or cordlike or tubelike structure, as a loop of bowel.
, n., a magnifying lens, often referred to in cystoscopies, and in surgery where a magnifying glass is required, such as cataract surgery (pronounced "loop").

loose, adj., not rigidly fastened or securely attached.
, v., to miss from one's possession or customary place; to fail to win or gain.

malleolus, n., the rounded lateral projections of the bone at the ankle.
, n., the outermost of three small bones in the ear.

marital, adj., pertaining to marriage.
, adj., pertaining to war or battle.
, n., a peace officer or official

may be, If you can substitute "might be" then this is the form to use.
, adv., perhaps.

melanotic, - referring to the presence of melanin. Often confused with melenic. It's melenic stools, not melanotic, no matter how dictated.
, - referring to or marked by melena.

metacarpal, adj., refers to bones of the hand.
, adj., refers to the bones of the foot.

metaphysis, n., the wide part at the end of a long bone.
, n., spread of disease.

militate, v.i., to affect, to carry weight; used with the word "against," as "His long smoking history would militate against a good prognosis."
, v.t. and v.i., to make milder, less severe, as, "We might attempt to mitigate his symptoms with phototherapy."

modeling - 1. shaping; making a model of. 2. working as a model.
- blotchy, such as mottling of the skin.

mucous, adj., pertaining to mucus; also, secreting mucus, as "mucous membranes."
, n., viscid secretion produced by mucous membranes.

oral, adj., pertaining to the mouth. Compare with aural - pertaining to the ear.

osteal, adj., bony (osseous).
, adj., pertaining to an ostium or os (an opening).

pail, n., a bucket.
, adj., light in color.

palate - the roof of the mouth
- an artist's paint board
- a straw-filled mattress (or) a small hard temporary bed
- one of the plates of a suit of armor

palpation, n., the act of feeling with the fingers.
, n., the subjective feeling of an irregular or abnormally rapid heartbeat.
, n., the presence of small projections or elevations (as the papillae on the tongue.

pancreas, n., a bodily organ/gland, located in the left upper quadrant just beneath the stomach and spleen.
, n., an enzyme, capitalized as a brand name of medication; lowercased for the naturally occuring enzyme.

Pap smear/test - An abbreviation for Papanicolaou, capitalized to differentiate from PAP and pap.
- an acronym for peroxidase-antiperoxidase, prostatic acid phosphatase, positive airway pressure, pulmonary airway pressure, and various other laboratory tests and symptoms.
- n., (all lowercase) - any soft food, such as baby food.

passed v. -- ...has gone by, passed us.
n. -- Has to do with time. "In the past..."

pawn - a chess piece; as a verb it may indicate leaving a valuable item to secure a loan.
- an acronym for Profile of Mood States.
- An acronym for Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity.
- an anatomical part in the brain.

peak, n., the pointed top of a graph (peaks and troughs); the pointed top of a mountain. Sometimes used as a back formation verb, "peaked."
, v., to look at something; "peek-a-boo." Sometimes used as a back formation noun (take a peek at...).

peal, v., to make a clanging sound, such as a bell.
, v., to remove in layers, such as an onion or tissue.

perennial - occurring all year long, as in perennial allergies. perineal, adj., refers to the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus in the male, and between the vulva and anus in the female).
, adj., refers to the peritoneum, the serous membrane lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities.
, adj., refers to the fibula or to the outer side of the leg and muscles thereof; the peroneus longus and the peroneus brevis.

perimeter, the edge of something; surrounding; going around an object. "She only shopped the perimeter of the store."
, a quality (as a means of variance. A characteristic, element or or factor. "Given these parameters, we will proceed as follows."

perfuse, vt., n.,: vt. to cause to flow or spread, such as blood or lymph. n., the act of flowing, such as blood or lymph.
, adj. or n., lavish, extravagant, bountiful.

plain, adj., simple, unadorned, as in a plain x-ray.
, n., a flat surface or layer; a surfacing tool.

pleural, adj., refers to the pleura, the serous membrane lining each half of the thorax, as the "pleural cavity" or "pleural effusion."
, adj., more than one.

prostate., n. and adj., the prostate gland.
, adj., lying prone.

principal, adj. and n., the most important; the chief, e.g. "principal diagnosis," the "principal of a school."
, n., a law or rule. Think of the word rule as ending in LE, as does the word principle.

radical, adj., many meanings, but the most prevalent in medicine is meaning 1. in Dorland's - "directed to the cause; directed to the root or source of a morbid process, such as "radical surgery."
, n., any one of the smallest branches of a vessel or nerve.

radish - a tuberous vegetable.
, v., to wreak havoc.
- a type of urological instrument.
, v., take by force, as in rape.

recession, n., (Oph), the moving of the head of an eye muscle (usually the medial rectus or lateral rectus, that adduct or abduct the eyeball), and reimplanting it in a slightly different position for correction of strabismus.
, n., excision of a portion of an organ or of a structure.

regime, n., government or social system; mode of rule or management (often misused or mispronounced in medicine for "regimen").
, n., a systematic course of diet, therapy, or exercise, meant to achieve certain ends.

role, n., a part we play in life.
, v., to roll something (roll over, roll a ball, etc.)

scatoma, n., stercoroma; a tumor-like mass in the rectum formed by an accumulation of fecal material.
, n., an area of depressed vision; a dark or blind spot in the visual field which is surrounded by an area of more normal vision.

soar, v., to ride on wind currents such as soaring birds do and humans do when parasailing and hang gliding; hovering.
, adj., n., a feeling of light pain; a painful skin break.

some time - adj.+noun, We will save some time for you. (Can you conceivably state a sentence using "time" without the word "some"? If so, use the two-word version.
- adv. We will see you sometime in the future. See some time. This rule applies to ALL words that begin with "some" - they often can be one word or two, depending on usage.

stationary - adj., unchanging in condition; fixed in position.
- n., letter paper, writing materials.

sulfa- - a prefix and/or "stand-alone noun" for certain generic drugs; see sulfur, sulpha-. "The patient is allergic to sulfa drugs."
- n. a mineral; the "smell of hell." Sulfur is a sometime ingredient in certain cosmetics and drying creams; never an ingested drug.
- a prefix for certain sulfa drugs.

super-, a prefix meaning in excess, such as superinfection. Sometimes used interchangeably with supra-.
, a prefix signifying above or over. In anatomy, this is usually preferred over super-.

tendon, (not tenon) - the fibrous cord by which a muscle is attached (Ortho).
capsule, a proper name for the capsule enclosing the posterior part of the eyeball (capitalized, you will note).
, - this is a carpentry term, not a medical term.

than (preposition) - Otherwise. "I'd rather do this than that." "Life is other than perfect."
(noun) - A point in time, some time ago. (Substitute, in your mind, "at that time.") "I saw him then." "Then, we went to school."

tide - n., the ebb and flow of water due to the pull of the moon; or the ebb and flow of air in one's lungs.
- v., past tense of tie - as in "...sutures were tied."

tract - A system of organs, such as the gastrointestinal tract. Also, an abnormal passage through tissue, such as a sinus tract or fistulous tract, both of which form a sort of "system" during the course of their formation in the body.
- A pathway, such as the track of a bullet. or a needle track, oftentimes found on drug addicts or patients on chronic hemodialysis. Think of a railroad track.

trichinosis, n., infection with trichinae; caused by eating undercooked pork and some other meats containing Trichinella.
, n., a cell structure which is derived from the cytoplasm.
, n., the disease of, or abnormal growth of, the hair.

verses, n. pl., lines of poetry.
, prep., against, contrary to, properly abbreviated vs.

vertex, n., top, generally used alone to refer to the top of the head, as in "vertex presentation," but also used in referring to the top or apex of other organs.
, n., a whorled pattern or arrangement, such as is found in fingerprints or pattern of hair growth at the crown of the head.

vesical, adj., pertaining to the bladder.
, n., a small blister; a small bladder or sac containing liquid, e.g., seminal vesicles.

vial, n., a small tube for collecting blood.
, adj., uncouth, nasty, or bad smelling.

villose, villous, adj., shaggy with soft hairs; covered with villi; "villose adenoma" or "villous adenoma."
(plural is villi), n., small vascular protrusion, particularly a protrusion from the surface of a membrane, commonly seen in small bowel.

viscous, adj., characterized by viscosity.
, n., internal organ; singular form of viscera.

-ware, a suffix, as found ending words such as software.
, v. to bear or have on the person (such as a hat). To diminish or decay through usage or passage of time (as to wear down).
, n. the act of wearing; the state of being worn. Also can be used as a suffix, e.g., shoewear, outerwear, etc.
, conj., in, at or to what place, e.g. "Where is it?"

wheal, n., a smoothly, slightly elevated area on the body surface which is redder or paler than the surrounding skin; e.g. "wheal-and-flare reaction."
, n., the invention that revolutionized the world; fits well on a car or wagon. Also, a pinwheel, used for testing sensory response.

who, pron - usually an interrogative. Can you substitute "he/she" if you turn the sentence around? i.e., Who was there?/He was there.
, objective case of who. e.g. I saw him. -or- ... is the one whom I saw. Notice that both "him" and "whom" end in the letter M.

who's - possessive form of who (if you can substitute "who is" -this is the form to use.
, pron - that which belongs to whom.

workup, see followup.

worse, adj - of the most inferior quality, value or condition. "Today he feels worse than usual."
, adj/sup - the most corrupt, bad, evil, extreme; the "badest" of all. "...the worst pain he had ever had."

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