7 Free Online Medical Dictionaries for Some Word Aid

Saikat Basu 31-01-2011

<firstimage=”//” />online medical dictionary encyclopediaI just returned from the hospital. The consulting physician threw around words like “˜Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography’ without a stutter, but my brain hit a pothole. He went straight ahead to other words which made the health problem seem quite acute. Blame it on the medical words or blame it on my relative lack of medical know-how.


Of course, some doctors are patient enough to explain everything in layman’s terms, but then I don’t think many of them take the Hippocratic Oath for patiently educating the common masses about the arcane medical terminologies. That’s where a free online medical dictionary and encyclopedia can jump right in.

When it comes to health problems and their understanding, it’s the physician who should be the first port of call. But if you want to expand your knowledge, then the web is an information goldmine. A lot of quality medical reference websites exist. Online medical dictionaries are part of some. Here are seven you can check out for the words and terms that doctors skip past you.

Medline Plus [No Longer Available]

online medical dictionary encyclopedia

Webster’s medical dictionary is a top-notch spot for looking up medical terms and their meanings. MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health’s website for free health related queries and information. Along with the general search field, you also can look up a page which lists lots of words that go into explaining medical terminologies. There’s another page on common abbreviations. The Medline Plus search supports use of wild card characters.


free online medical dictionary


MediLexicon is a comprehensive database of medical abbreviations, terms, ICD9 codes, equipments, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, news, publications etc. The site has over 230,000 items in its database. The information can be accessed for free by professionals from the fields of pharmacy, biotechnology, agrochemicals, and healthcare. You can also use an alphabetical listing of medical words. Optionally, the search engine uses a fuzzy algorithm to supply variations to the keyword you enter. The dictionary is powered by Stedman’s Medical Dictionary.


free online medical dictionary

You can get easy to understand explanations of nearly 16,000 medical terms as well as detailed articles as part of all resources on the site.  Use the search box or the alphabetical listing. If you are not sure of the spelling, use wildcards to get a list of results to browse through. The advanced search options help to narrow down your search according to the choice you select from a dropdown.


free online medical dictionary


WebMD is a top-tier medical information website that has an entire suite of features on health and medicine. The dictionary, quite predictably gives you an alphabetical listing and a search box. The dictionary sources the meanings from Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. The meanings are short and concise.

The Free Dictionary

online medical dictionary

The medical dictionary of the Free Dictionary sources medical terms and definitions from The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, Second Edition and Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Care Consumers, covering authoritative descriptions of medical conditions, medications, anatomical terms, noted medical personalities and more. The search box has the auto-suggestion feature enabled by default which also indicates the languages available for the meaning of a particular word. What are really useful are the audio pronunciations and selective illustrations of medical terms.

King’s Medical Library Engine

online medical dictionary


The meta-search tool accesses most of the known resources we have listed above. The site includes a medical dictionary, terminology, and abbreviation search. You can also search for drug related information links to medical articles and journals on sites like PubMed. The web engine is powered by Google and the site also pings most of the well known sites for definitions and illustrations.


online medical dictionary encyclopedia

Medic8 gets medical terms and meanings from these publications – Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, and Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Compared to some of the other medical dictionaries we have seen above, it is more of a content search engine rather than a pure dictionary as it gives you links to relevant articles on the site.

These seven free online medical dictionary sources are not only for laymen but also for those in the medical profession or on the verge of it. They can add these to some of the earlier ones we covered in The Best Reference Sites for Medical Students The Best Reference Sites For Medical Students Read More . Do you know of an online medical dictionary we haven’t covered here?


Image credit: Shutterstock

Related topics: Dictionary, Health.

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  1. Anonymous
    May 23, 2016 at 8:09 am

    good. its a nice information that you are share actually my DaD is a heart patient and i'm very worried about my DaD health so now i'm very happy when i read all information i can use all information where i am. thx aloot.

  2. Wheelchairs
    March 21, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.


  3. Glad2bamom
    February 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Wahoo!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I am so grateful to have finally stumbled upon this post! My 2 year old son has ....something...going on, leaving both his Dad and I, as well as his Pediatrician with more questions than answers. I consider myself pretty web-savy, and highly literate. I was an English Major in College and can honestly say that NONE of those things make a difference when it comes to understanding medical terminology. The "Medline Plus" dictionary is just what I needed. Thank You, Thank You, Thank you!