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Definition of Para- (prefix)

Para- (prefix): A prefix with many meanings, including: alongside of, beside, near, resembling, beyond, apart from, and abnormal.

For example, the parathyroid glands are called "para-thyroid" because they are adjacent to the thyroid. For another example, paraumbilical means alongside the umbilicus (the belly button).

The prefix "para-" comes straight from the Greek.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7885
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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