Sound Alike Words for Medical Transcriptionists – Part 1 (A – C)

One of the challenges in medical transcription is that the audio quality is not always of optimal quality.  There are many words that sound alike, and some can be difficult to understand, even in context.  Below is Part 1 (A – C) listing sound alike words that are encountered by medical professionals, along with a brief definition.  It’s helpful for both health care professionals and transcriptionists to review them to make sure they are deliberate in their pronunciation as well as to understanding the context in which they are used.

abdominal pertaining to the abdomen

abominable detestable; unpleasant or disagreeable


abduction moving away from (often dictated as “a-b-duction”)

adduction drawing toward (often dictated as “a-d-duction”)


aberrant wandering; abnormal

apparent clear or obvious; visible


abject existing in a low condition, as in abject poverty

object to oppose (v); something on which one is focused (n)


ablation surgical removal

oblation religious offering


accent characteristic pronunciation

ascent rising or moving upward; upward slope or incline


assent to agree with (v); agreement (n)

accept to receive willingly; to regard as proper


except other than; to leave out or exclude

access means of approach; the ability or right to approach


axis center

excess more than usual


acetic sour

acidic acid-forming


aesthetic characterized by increased awareness of beauty

ascitic pertaining to an accumulation of serous fluid in the abdominal cavity

asthenic pertaining to or characterized by a lack or loss of energy


esthesic mental perception of sensation

esthetic improvement in appearance


Acufex arthroscopic instruments

Acuflex an intraocular lens


adverse contrary to one’s interests; undesirable, unwanted, as in adverse reaction

averse having a feeling of dislike or revulsion, as in averse to taking risks


advice opinion about what should be done (n)

advise to counsel, recommend, or inform (v)


aerogenous gas-producing

erogenous arousing erotic feelings, as in erogenous zone


affect to influence (v), as in he affected her deeply; external expression of emotion (n), as in a

            flat affect (psych)

effect to bring about (v), as in effect a change; result (n), as in cause and effect


afferent toward a center

efferent outward from a center


affusion act of pouring a liquid on

effusion liquid which escapes into tissue

infusion introduction of a liquid solution through a vein or tissue


alfa international spelling for alpha, as in interferon alfa

alpha first letter of the Greek alphabet; the first one; the beginning


allude make reference to

elude evade

elute extract or remove

allusion indirect but pointed meaning or reference


elution separation by washing of one solid from another

illusion erroneous perception of reality


alkalosis increased alkalinity of blood and tissues

ankylosis immobilization of a joint


all the whole amount

awl a pointed instrument


alternate a person acting in the place of another, as in an alternate delegate (n);

to do by turns (v)

alternating happening by turns, as in alternating movements

alternative a choice between two possibilities, as in the only alternative


anecdote an amusing or interesting short story

antidote a remedy for counteracting a poison

anergia inactivity

inertia inability to move spontaneously

anuresis retention of urine in the bladder

enuresis involuntary discharge of urine after the age at which control should have been achieved; bed-wetting


aphagia refusal or inability to swallow

aphakia absence of the lens of the eye, most commonly caused by extraction of a cataract

aphasia speech disorder that involves a defect or loss of the power of expression by speaking, writing, or signing; also inability to comprehend spoken or written language

aplasia lack of development of an organ or tissue


apposition placing side by side or next to

opposition contrary action or condition


assure to cause to feel sure; to make safe or secure

ensure to make sure or certain

insure to make secure; to ensure


astasia inability to stand due to lack of muscle coordination

ectasia dilation or expansion

attacks spells; assaults


Atarax tranquilizer

ataxia failure or irregularity of muscle coordination


aura a sensation or motor phenomenon that precedes a paroxysmal attack such as a seizure

aural pertaining to the ear

ora plural of os

oral pertaining to the mouth

orale the point in the midline of the maxillary suture that is lingual to the central incisors


avert to turn aside or turn away

evert to turn inside out

invert to turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the order

overt open to view


BAER brainstem auditory evoked response

bare nude

Bayer brand name for aspirin

bear to tolerate


ball valve a heart valve

bivalve consisting of two similar but separable parts


Beaver brand name of a series of blades, knives, and keratomes

Deaver retractor


bolus a single, rather large mass or quantity of a drug or medication that is administered either orally or intravenously

bullous relating to bullae


caliber the diameter of a projectile, usually a bullet; the diameter of a canal or tube

calipers a compass-like instrument used for measuring thicknesses, such as skinfolds

callous hard like a callus; hardened in mind or feelings, as in a callous attitude

callus a hardened or thickened area of skin; the meshwork of woven bone that forms at the site of a healing fracture, as in callus formation


carotid artery

parotid gland


caudal a position more toward the tail; often used as a synonym for inferior

coddle to pamper

Cottle a manufacturer of surgical instruments


cease to stop doing; to come to an end

seize to grab; to take by force; to convulse


cecal pertaining to the cecum

fecal pertaining to feces

thecal pertaining to an enclosing case or sheath, as in thecal sac


cede yield or grant, as in the tennis player was forced to cede the point to her opponent

seat to cause or assist to sit down; to fix firmly in place, as with components of a joint replacement

seed semen; a small shell used in application of radiation therapy


celiotomy surgical incision into the abdominal cavity

ciliotomy surgical division of the ciliary nerves

cell smallest unit of life capable of existence

cella an enclosure or compartment

sella a saddle-shaped depression, as in sella turcica


cellular consisting of cells; porous

sellar pertaining to the sella turcica


cerise deep to vivid purplish red

cerous pertaining to or containing the metallic element cerium

scirrhous pertaining to or of the nature of a hard cancer

serous pertaining to or resembling serum


cholic an acid; relating to bile

colic acute abdominal pain


chordae plural of chorda; any cord or sinew

chordee downward bowing of the penis


cilium a hairlike projection from a cell

psyllium the seed of a plant that is used as a mild laxative


circumcise to remove the foreskin of the penis

circumscribe to mark off carefully


cirrhosis liver disease

xerosis abnormal dryness, as seen in the eyes, skin, or mouth


cite to quote as an authority or example; to mention as an illustration

-cyte cell

sight the function of seeing

site a place or location


clonus alternating muscular contraction and relaxation in rapid succession

conus resembling a cone in shape

cornice a decorative band


CNS central nervous system

C&S culture and sensitivity


collum the neck

column a pillar-like structure


complement that which completes or makes perfect

compliment an expression of praise or admiration


continence self-restraint; the ability to retain urine or feces

continents land masses of the world


continual recurring frequently

continuous going on without interruption


council an executive or advisory body

counsel advice given as a result of a consultation


corollary something that naturally follows

coronary pertaining to the heart


creatine high-energy phosphate

creatinine product excreted in urine; a diagnostic indicator of kidney function

keratan a sulfate found in the cornea and in skeletal tissues

keratin scleroprotein that forms the primary components of epidermis, hair, nails and horny tissues


cremation consumption by fire

crenation abnormal notch found on microscopic exam of an erythrocyte


crus a term used to designate a leg-like part

crux a decisive point, as in crux of the matter


cytotoxin a toxin or antibody that has a toxic action on cells of a specific organ

Cytoxan an antineoplastic drug

sitotoxin food poisoning



2Ascribe Inc. is a medical transcription services agency located in Toronto, Ontario Canada, providing medical transcription services to physicians, clinics and other healthcare providers across Canada.  With WEBscribe, a client interface portal for document management, 2Ascribe continues to implement and develop technology to assist and improve the transcription process for physicians and other healthcare providers.  As a service to our clients and the healthcare industry, 2Ascribe offers articles of interest to physicians and other healthcare professionals, medical transcriptionists and office staff, as well as of general interest.  Additional articles may be found at and

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