No one really likes going to the doctor, but it’s unfortunately a fact of life. Going to the doctor is something we all have to do at one point or another, so it’s important to know what you’re talking about when you arrive at the office. With this in mind (thinking about this), we’re covering English medical vocabulary this week.

We hope you don’t have to use any of this vocabulary or these phrases anytime soon, but just in case you do, it’s good to be prepared with some of this English medical vocabulary!


Allergies can be very annoying, especially if they’re seasonal allergies (in the spring or summer). An allergy can make your eyes water, your throat itch, or make your skin itchy. Unfortunately, an allergy can be life threatening, so if you go to the doctor, it’s important to let your physician know about any allergies that you have.

For example:

  • I’m allergic to pollen, so I sneeze a lot in the spring.
  • She’s allergic to penicillin, so make sure not to give her any.


When something hurts, many people will go to the doctor to get it checked out (looked at), just to be on the safe side. Aches and pains are usually nothing, but it’s important to be aware of what’s going on with your body so you can describe (explain) the ache to your doctor using English medical vocabulary. Then they can help get rid of (alleviate, heal, take away) your aches and pains.

An ache is usually a light pain, while pain is much more intense.

For example:

  • My back has been aching for the past few days. I’m going to go get it checked out.
  • My neck is in so much pain. Can you take me to the hospital?


A bruise is a purple and blue spot on your skin. Bruises can happen from too much pressure on the skin, maybe from playing sports, banging an elbow on a table, or sometimes they pop up and you have no idea how you got them! Bruises usually aren’t too serious, and will go away after a few days.

For example:

  • I have a huge bruise on my leg from playing football on Sunday.
  • Where did this bruise come from?


Have you ever broken a bone? When you break a bone, a doctor will often put a cast on the broken limb. A cast is a hard bit of plaster and gauze that is put on the broken limb (arm or leg) to keep the limb straight for a few weeks until it heals (is healthy, 100%). Having a cast may be an annoyance (not easy, difficult to manage), but it’s the best way to get a bone to set (heal).

For example:

  • Do you want to sign (write on) my cast?
  • When I was a kid, I broke my collarbone and the doctor couldn’t put a cast on it.


When you go to the doctor and list your symptoms (the things that hurt, are wrong or not normal), they’ll hopefully tell you what’s wrong with you during the appointment. This is called a diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, the doctor will be able to help you treat what’s wrong and have you on the road to recovery soon!

For example:

  • Do you have a diagnosis for me?
  • What’s your diagnosis? Do you know what’s wrong?


Once a doctor has a diagnosis, they’ll write you a prescription for medication. A prescription is a piece of paper with your required medicines, which you can take to a pharmacy (apothecary, drug store) and get filled (dispense, given).

For example:

  • Your prescription says to take two pills a day: one in the morning and one at night.
  • Hello. I’m here to pick up my prescription.


How often do you go to the doctor? It’s recommended that you go once a year for a check-up, which is an appointment where the doctor makes sure everything is ok. You don’t need to feel sick when you go for a check-up, but the doctor will just check your body to be sure that it is “working” as it should.

For example:

  • Have you gone for your yearly checkup yet?
  • What did the doctor say during your check-up? Does everything look good?

Have you used any of this English medical vocabulary before? Is there any English medical vocabulary you think we’re missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and wishes you lots of good health so you don’t ever need to use this English medial vocabulary! 

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