EpicentRx Word of the Week: -Oma

Nov 27, 2023

“-Oma is the grandmother of all suffixes.”


plural -omas also -omata

Definition (noun suffix): tumor, mass, or growth. (In German Oma is a noun that means grandmother.)

Example words:

Adenoma, hematoma, fibroma, sarcoma, fibroma, carcinoma, melanoma, lymphoma.


-Oma is usually appended to the name of the affected tissue or cell like in lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph tissue or like in melanoma, which is cancer of the melanocytes i.e., the cells that produce the pigment melanin or like in sarcoma, which is a tumor of the connective tissue i.e., bones, muscles, blood vessels, cartilage, or fat since the root word “sarc” means connective tissue.

However, it is a misconception that –oma is synonymous with cancer. –Oma means a growth or a mass but does not specify the type of growth or mass, and whether that growth or mass is benign or malignant or inflammatory. For example, the word hematoma refers to a mass of blood or bruise, lipoma to a (usually) benign tumor of fat cells and granuloma to a focal collection of immune cells that form in response to a persistent inflammatory stimulus.

About the Word:

From Ancient Greek -ωμα (-ōma).