Health Literacy Thesaurus: Medical terms, phrases, references,
and their Plain English equivalents or definitions

O (objective - overabundance)

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objectivegoal, end
obscurehidden, unclear, blur, confuse
observationclose look, remark, watching, sighting
observelook closely, watch, see, detect, find, notice, see
obstructblock, stop
obstructionbarrier, block, hurdle
obtainget
obviousclear, plain, easy to see
occasionallysometimes, not often, once in a while
occupationjob, work
occupational therapistsomeone who helps people who are sick or injured relearn everyday activities
occupational therapytherapy that helps you relearn everyday activities
occurhappen, take place, result
occurrenceevent
on an empty stomachdo not eat or drink
optic neuritiseye disease, disease of the eyes
optimalbest, best way
optionchoice, way
orchitisside effect of mumps
originatestart, begin, create
orthopedic surgeonbones and joint doctor
orthopedicsbones and joint doctor’s office
osteonecrosisbone death
osteoporosisosteoporosis, brittle bones
otitis mediamiddle ear infection
outbreakwhen a large number of people suddenly get sick; sudden increase in number of sicknesses
ova/ovumegg/eggs, a woman’s egg/eggs
overabundancetoo much, excess

Source: CDC Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communications. Other related materials: Vaccines & Immunizations Glossary; Harvard School of Public Health "Plain Language Glossaries" for asthma, arthritis, and lupus; Medical Library Association "Deciphering Medspeak" for diabetes, stroke, and HIV-AIDS


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