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This section describes the major features found in Taber’s and provides information that may help you use the dictionary more efficiently. The Feature Finder on page viii is a graphic representation of many of the features described below.

  1. Online Resources feature a wealth of multimedia resources for nursing, allied health, and medical students and professionals that enhance the learning experience, including audio pronunciations for over 32,000 terms and over 1,200 images as well as animations and videos. An icon in the book identifies the corresponding images, animations, or videos online. Visit to find the web page for this title and to access these resources.

    Bonus Appendices include valuable educational and clinical health care resources, tools, and reference materials.

    Taber’s Online, powered by Unbound Medicine offers FREE, one-year access to all of the Taber’s content online. Use the access code on the inside front cover to activate your subscription.

  2. Vocabulary: The extensive vocabulary defined in Taber’s has been updated to meet the ongoing needs of health care students, educators, and clinicians, as well as interested consumers. The medical editor, nursing editor, and the nursing and allied health consulting editors and consultants have researched and written new entries, revised existing entries, and deleted obsolete ones, reflecting the many changes in health care technology, clinical practice, and patient care. American, rather than British, spellings are preferred.

  3. Entry Placement: Taber’s combines two systems for the placement and organization of entries: (a) main entries in strict alphabetical order; and (b) a main entry–subentry format. All single-word terms (e.g., cell) are main entries, as are some compound, or multiple word, terms, e.g., acid-reflux disorder; nucleic acid test. However, many compound terms, especially those in anatomy and physiology, are treated as subentries and are placed using the main entry–subentry format, e.g., arteries, veins, ligaments, and types of respiration. Entries having a considerable number of subentries are tinted in a yellow background for ease in finding them. This melding of two systems combines the best features of both: compound terms that share an important common element or classification, e.g., arteries, are subentries under the main entry (or headword). Terms that tend to be sought under the first word, e.g., diseases, disorders, tests, and syndromes, appear as main entries under the first word. Also names of individuals and organizations are listed as main entries. All main entries are printed in bold type; subentries are indented under the main entry and are printed in bold italic type. All entries are listed and defined in the singular whenever possible.

  4. Alphabetization:

    Main entries are alphabetized letter by letter, regardless of spaces or hyphens that occur between the words; a comma marks the end of a main entry for alphabetical purposes, e.g., skin, tenting of precedes skin cancer.

    Subentries are listed in straight-ahead order following the same letter-by-letter alphabetization used for main entries; a comma marks the end of a subentry for alphabetical purposes. The headword is often abbreviated in subentries (such as preterm l. under labor or pulmonary i. under infarction).

  5. Eponyms: Included as main entries are the names of individuals who were the first to discover, describe, or popularize a concept, a microorganism, a disease, a syndrome, or an anatomical structure. A brief biography appears in brackets after the pronunciation. Biographical information includes the person’s professional designation, the country in which the person was born or worked, and the date of birth and death if known.

  6. Pronunciations: Most main entries are spelled phonetically. Such spellings appear within parentheses after the boldface main entry and are given as simply as possible. The vowel a stands for the sounds in at, ant, or care; the vowel e for the sound in bed or set; i as in it or hid; o as in got, god, or lawn; u as in foot or put. Taber’s also uses two diacritics, or marks over vowels. The macron ¯ shows the long sound of vowels, as the a in mate, the e in meet, the i in might, the o in mote, and the u in mute. The breve ˘ shows the short, obscure vowel, called schwa, which is pronounced like the a in sofa, the e in butter, the i in maudlin the o in senator, and the u in up. The letter combinations oo are pronounced as in food, ow as in now, ch as in chin, sh as in shin, th as in thin or then, and zh as in vision. Accents are marks used to indicate stress upon certain syllables. A single accent ′ marks the primary accent. A double accent ʺ marks a secondary accent. Both kinds of stress can be seen in an″ĕs-thē′zhă. Syllables are separated by either an accent mark or a hyphen.

  7. Singular/Plural forms: When the spelling of an entry’s singular or plural form is a nonstandard formation, e.g., villus pl. villi, or viscera sing. viscus, the spelling of the singular or plural form appears in boldface after the pronunciation for the main entry. Nonstandard singular and plural forms appear as entries themselves at their normal alphabetical positions.

  8. Etymologies: An etymology indicates the origin and historical development of a term. For most health care terms the origin is Latin or Greek. An etymology is given for most main entries and appears in brackets following the pronunciation.

  9. Abbreviations: Standard abbreviations for entries are included with the definition, and many are also listed alphabetically as separate entries throughout the text. Additional abbreviations used for charting and prescription writing are listed in the Appendices, found online at A list of nonmedical abbreviations used in text appears on page xv.

  10. Encyclopedic entries: Detailed, comprehensive information is included with entries that require additional coverage because of their importance or complexity. Often this information is organized into several sections, each with its own subheading. The most frequently used subheadings are Causes, Symptoms and Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Patient Care.

  11. Patient Care: Patient Care sections provide information for the health care worker in clinical situations. These sections have proven invaluable to health care professionals by providing patient teaching and wellness information. There are now more than 800 Patient Care sections in Taber’s.

  12. Illustrations: This edition of Taber’s includes 800 illustrations in the print. In addition, there are over 400 additional, ancillary illustrations in the electronic versions of this edition. The existence of each of these ancillary illustrations in is indicated by placement of the icon next to the entry with which the illustration is associated. The images were carefully chosen to complement the text of the entries with which they are associated. Each illustration is cross-referenced from its associated entry.

  13. Tables: This edition contains over 150 color-screened tables located appropriately throughout the Vocabulary section.

  14. Adjectives: The adjectival forms of many noun main entries appear at the end of the definition of the noun form or, if the entry is long, at the end of the first paragraph. Pronunciations for most of the adjectival forms are included. Many common adjectives appear as main entries themselves.

  15. image Caution/Safety statements: This notation is used to draw particular attention to information that may affect the health and/or safety of patients or the professionals who treat them. The information is of more than routine interest and should be considered when delivering health care. These statements are further emphasized by colored rules above and below the text.

  16. Synonyms: Synonyms are listed at the end of the entry or, in encyclopedic entries, at the end of the first paragraph. The abbreviation SYN: precedes the synonymous term(s). Terms listed as synonyms have their own entries in the Vocabulary, which generally carry a cross-reference to the entry at which the definition appears.

  17. Cross-references: Illustrations, tables, appendices, or other relevant vocabulary entries may be given as cross-references. These are indicated by SEE: or SEE: under followed by the name(s) of the appropriate element(s) in italics. Cross-references to the Nursing Diagnoses Appendix are highlighted in color at the end of the entry as SEE: Nursing Diagnoses Appendix. Entries at which an illustration appears carry the color-highlighted SEE: illus. When a SEE: refers to subentry, the main entry will appear in boldface, for easy reference, e.g., SEE: temporal line, where “line” is the main entry.

  18. Bonus Appendices: There are over 15 bonus appendices available on the site.

  19. Nursing Diagnoses Appendix: This appendix has been updated through the 2018–2020 Conference of NANDA-I (North American Nursing Diagnosis Association-International). It is divided into several sections, including two lists of NANDA-I’s nursing diagnoses organized into Doenges, Murr and Moorhouse’s Diagnostic Divisions; an at-a-glance look at the most recent diagnoses approved by NANDA-I; nursing diagnoses commonly associated with almost 300 diseases/disorders (cross-referenced from the body of the dictionary); and a complete description of all NANDA-I approved diagnoses through the 2018–2020 conference in alphabetical order. Included are the diagnostic division, definition, related factors, and defining characteristics for each nursing diagnosis.

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