The Hippocrates Code

Unraveling the Ancient Mysteries of Modern Medical Terminology

by JC McKeown, Joshua Smith

Subject categories
  • 9781624664649
  • 9781624664663

In this book lies a key for decoding modern medical terminology, a living language that, despite some quirks, is best approached as an ordered system. Rather than presenting a mere list of word elements to be absorbed through rote memorization, The Hippocrates Code offers a thorough, linguistically-centered explanation of the rules of the terminological game, both for the language of medicine and for scientific vocabulary in general. Its careful exposition of Latin and Greek linguistic principles—along with a healthy dose of innovative exercises—empowers students to successfully employ the word elements that are the building blocks of modern medical terminology. Along the way, fascinating discussions of the practice of medicine in the ancient world provide an integral aid to the understanding of medical vocabulary. Code-breakers drawn to language, history, and medicine will be as stimulated as they are enlightened.

The Hippocrates Code features:

  • Twenty-eight chapters covering the principles behind the formation of medical vocabulary derived from Latin and Greek, complete with a rich harvest of the most useful prefixes, suffixes, and bases
  • Detailed anatomical diagrams paired with an etymological tour of the human body
  • Selected readings from ancient medical writers, with commentaries that compare and contrast medical practices in antiquity with those of the present day
  • An abundant array of diverse and often ingenious exercises that require critical thinking about the application of word elements. For additional vocabulary practice, exercises, pronunciation aids, and much more

The Hippocrates Code companion website:

  • Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; February 2016
  • ISBN: 9781624664663
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Hippocrates Code
  • Author: JC McKeown; Joshua Smith
  • Imprint: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Subject categories
  • 9781624664649
  • 9781624664663

In The Press

"Innovative, well-conceived, and with real pedagogical, intellectual, and historical value—a very rare combination of merits in the ocean of available options for teaching medical terminology. An additional advantage of the book is the engaging, down-to-earth style of presentation. The abundance of curious facts about ancient medical practice and modern day references will appeal to the savvy and to-the-point pre-med student who does not have much time for highfalutin speech but is nevertheless hungry for new, less well-known information. Wholeheartedly recommended."
—Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, Dept. of Classics, Florida State University

About The Author

JC McKeown is Professor of Classics, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Joshua M. Smith is Assistant Professor of Classics, Johns Hopkins University.