Header image of wall of bricks

-algia

Also ‑algic.

Pain, usually in a specified part of the body.

Greek algos, pain.

Most words ending in ‑algia are specialist medical terms, but a few are more generally known, such as neuralgia, intense intermittent pain along the course of a nerve.

One that seems not to fit here is nostalgia, a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past; this first entered the language meaning homesickness (Greek nostos, return home), hence having a sense close to ‘pain of separation’.

A few terms have linked adjectives in ‑algic, for example arthralgic, myalgic, neuralgic, and nostalgic.

Examples of words in -algia
Word origins are from Greek.

arthralgia

pain in a joint

arthron, a joint

causalgia

severe burning pain in a limb caused by injury to a peripheral nerve

kausos, heat or fever

cephalalgia

headache

kephalē, head

erythromelalgia

a disease caused by dilation of the peripheral blood vessels, associated with burning, redness of the skin, and pain

eruthros, red, plus melos, limb

gastralgia

pain in the stomach

gastēr or gastr‑, stomach

mastalgia

pain in the breast caused by congestion during lactation, or other causes

mastos, breast

myalgia

pain in a muscle or group of muscles

mus, muscle

neuralgia

intense, typically intermittent pain along the course of a nerve, especially in the head or face

neuron, a nerve

ostalgia

a pain associated with some abnormal condition in a bone

osteon, bone

otalgia

earache

ōtalgia, from ous or ōt‑, ear

prosopalgia

stabbing pain in the face, also called trigeminal neuralgia

prosōpon, face

rachialgia

pain in or due to the spine

rhakhis, spine

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.