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Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-cele Also -coel and -coele.

A tumour, swelling, or hernia.

[Greek kēlē, a tumour or hernia.]

Examples are bronchocele (Greek bronkhos, windpipe), a swelling of the thyroid gland, as in goitre; enterocele, a hernia of the pouch of Douglas, between the rectum and uterus; gastrocele, a hernia of the stomach; hydrocele, a tumour containing fluid, especially in the scrotum; meningocele, a protrusion of the meninges (the outer membranes of the brain) through the skull; and varicocele, a mass of varicose veins in the spermatic cord.

Words in -cele are sometimes spelled -coel or -coele, though this ending strictly derives from a different Greek root (see -coel); the confusion between spellings is accentuated by their relative closeness of meaning and the existence of a few words in both spellings with different senses, such as enterocele and enterocoel. See also coelo-.

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