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Prefixes

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Prefixes and suffixes were originally words themselves but they are now groups of letters added to words or to roots to create new words. Prefixes [pre (before) + fix (fasten) = fasten before] are groups of letters placed before words or roots. Prefixes modify or extend the meanings of words and roots. Following is a list of commonly used prefixes and sample vocabulary.

INDEX: A B C D E I M N O P R S T U

A

  • a-, ac-, ad-, af-, ag-, al-, an-, ap-, as-, at- to, toward, near, in addition to
    • aside(adverb): to or toward the side
      • a + side
    • accompany(verb): to go with someone as a companion
      • ac + com + pan + y
    • adjust(verb): to correct, to move closer to a correct position
    • affix(verb): to attach to something, to fasten
      • af + fix
    • aggression(noun): hostile behavior towards someone or something
    • allocate(verb): to distribute to specific people or for specific purposes
    • annihilate(verb): to destroy
      • an + nihil + ate
    • associate(verb): to join with
    • attend(verb): to look after, to go to
  • a-, an-not, without
    • apolitical(adjective): without interest in politics
      • a + polit + ic + al
    • anemia(noun): the condition (disease) of not having enough red blood cells
      • an + em + ia
  • ab-, abs- away from, off
    • abrupt(adjective): unexpected change
    • absolve(verb): to be set free from one’s actions or obligations
  • ante- before
    • anterior (adjective): before or near the front
      • ante + rior

     

    anti-

  • against
    • antipathy (noun): dislike, opposite feeling
  • auto- self
    • automotive (adjective): related to self-propelled machines

B

  • bi- two
    • biped (noun): a two-footed animal
    • biennial (adjective): happening every two years bi + enni + al

C

  • cat-, cata-, cath- down, with
    • category (noun): a class or set to which a thing belongs
    • catalogue(noun): a book or pamphlet that lists and describes
      • cata + log + ue
    • catheter (noun): a medical device used to transfer fluids cath +eter
  • circum- around
    • circumvent (verb): to manage to get around a situation
  • co-, cog-, col-, com-, con-, cor together, with
    • cohesiveness(noun): the ability to stick together
    • cognate(adjective): related, similar in nature
    • collaborate(verb): to work together
    • commitment(noun): to entrust, to put into a place
    • convenient(adjective): handy, nearby
    • correct(verb): to set right, to be right
      • cor + rect
  • contra- against, opposite
    • contradict (verb) to state the opposite

D

  • de- to do the opposite, to take away from
    • decrease (verb): to grow smaller, to become less
      • de + cre + ase
  • di-, dif-, dis- apart, separate, two, opposite, not
    • divide (verb): to separate into two or more parts
      • di + vide
    • differ(verb): to be unlike
  • dis- not, opposite of, exclude
    • distrust (verb): to have no confidence or trust
      • dis + trust

E

  • e-, ex- out, out of, from
    • emit (verb) to send out
    • expel (verb): to force out ex + pel
  • en-, em- put into
    • enamor (verb): to cause to love, to “put” someone “into” love
    • empower (verb): to give power, to put into power em + pow + er
  • epi-, upon, beside, over
    • epilogue (noun): the concluding section of a play or literary work
  • extra- beyond
    • extraordinary (adjective): going beyond normal
      • extra + ordin + ary

I

  • il-, im-, in-, ir, not, in
    • illegible (adjective): cannot be read
    • imposter(noun): someone who poses as someone else
    • inaction(noun): lack of motion, idle
    • irresolute(adjective): uncertain about hot to act, undecided, not having a solution
  • in-, im-, il- in, into
    • instead (adverb): in place of, an alternative
      • in + stead
    • import(verb): to bring into a country from another country
  • inter- between, among
    • interject (verb): to throw something (usually a comment) between other things
  • intro- into
    • introspection (noun): to look into one’s own thoughts and feelings

M

  • mal- bad
    • malfunction (noun): when something does not work properly
      • mal + funct + ion
  • mis- wrong
    • misconduct (noun): wrong doing, bad behavior
  • mono- one
    • monologue (noun): a dramatic performance or speech given by one actor
  • multi- many
    • multiply (verb): to increase in number

N

  • non- not, no
    • nonsense (noun): something that has no meaning or makes no sense

O

  • ob-, oc-, of-, op- toward, against, in the way
    • obtain (verb): to gain or get, to get a hold of
    • occur(verb): to happen, to come to mind
    • offer(verb): to attempt to give, to propose, to try to hand out
    • oppose(verb): to be against, to stand in the way of something
  • over- excessive, above
    • overwork (verb): to have too much work
      • over + work

P

  • para- beside
    • paradox (noun): a statement that seems true and contradictory at the same time
  • per- through
    • persecute (verb): to go after, to pursue
  • post- after
    • postpone (verb): to put off to a later time, to delay
  • pre- before
    • precede (verb): to go before, to come in front of
  • pro- for, foward
    • propel (verb): to push forward

R

  • re- back, again
    • readmit (verb): to allow in again
  • retro- backward
    • retrospect (noun) to look back at past events

S

  • se- apart, move away from
    • secede (verb): to withdraw from an organization
  • semi- half
    • semiannual (adjective): occurring twice a year
  • sub-, suc-, suf-, sup-, sur-, sus under, beneath, near, from below, secretly, above, up
    • submarine (adjective): underwater
      • sub + mar + ine
    • succeed(verb): to do well, to come after
    • suffice(verb): to be enough
    • support(verb): to hold up, too keep up
    • survive(verb): to live, to live through something, to exist
    • sustain(verb): to keep up, to hold up,
  • super- over, above
    • superimpose (verb): to place something on top of something else
  • syn-, sym- together, at the same time
    • synchronous (adjective): happening at the same time
    • sympathy(noun): sharing another person’s feelings, compassion

T

  • trans- across, beyond, change
    • transform (verb): to change shape
  • tri- three
    • tripod (noun): a three-legged stand

U

  • un- not, against, opposite
    • unceasing (adjective): never ending, continuous
  • uni- one
    • uniform (adjective): having the same form or consistency

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