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[Arranged here in alphabetical order will be found all the important prefixes used in forming English words. Those of English or Anglo-Saxon origin are marked (A. S.); of Latin (L.); of Greek (Gr.); of French (F.). Prefixes which are inseparable in the languages from which they are derived are here distinguished by a hyphen attached, indicating that they are not used separately with the given signification; thus in-, when it has a negative or privative meaning, is an inseparable prefix.]

A-, Anglo-Saxon, signifies at, to, in or on; as, aside, at the side; afield, to the field; abed, in the bed; aboard, on board.

A (L.), with its forms ab and abs, signifies from or away; as, avert, to turn from; absolve, to release from; abstract, to draw from.

A- or AN- (Gr.) signifies without, not; as, atheist, without God; anarchy, the absence of government.

AD (L.) means to, and assumes for the sake of euphony the various forms of a-, ac-, af-, ag-, al-, an-, ap-, ar-, as-, at-, according to the commencing letter of the primitive or root; as, adhere, to stick to; ascend, to mount to; accede, to yield to; affix, to fix to ; aggrieve, to give pain to; ally, to bind to; annex, to tie to; append, to hang to; arrive, to come to; assent, to yield to; attest, to bear witness to.

AM-, AMB- or AMBI- (L.), AMPHI- (Gr.), round, round about, on both sides; as, ambient, going about; amputate, to cut round or off; amphitheatre, a theatre with a view all round.

ANA (Gr.), also sometimes AN- by contraction, back, up, again, through; as, analysis, a loosing back, an undoing or explanation; anabaptist, one who baptizes again; anchoret, one who goes back or away, retires. In composition, ana sometimes means similar to, according to.

ANTE, ANT-, ANTI- (L.), before, either in time or place; as, antecedent, going before; ancestor, for antecessor or antcessor; anticipate, to take before.

ANTI, ANT- (Gr.), over, against or opposite; as, antithesis, a placing against; antarctic, opposite to the Arctic region or circle.

APO-, AP-, APH- (Gr.), from; as, apologue (lõg'os, a discourse), a fable with a moral meaning apart from the narration; aphorism, a short sentence expressing some important truth (apŏ and ŏrizō, I mark bounds or limits).

ARCH- (Gr. ar'chos, chief), in composition, signifies chief or of the first class. In some words it is pronounced ark and in some artsh; as, archangel, archbishop.

BE- (A. S.), supposed to have been originally the same as by, signifies make. When be- is prefixed to a noun, the noun becomes a verb; thus, calm and friend are nouns, but becalm and befriend are verbs. Be-, prefixed to a verb, signifies about, over, for; thus, speak and think become bespeak and bethink. Be-, in a preposition, an adverb or a conjunction, has the force of by or in; thus, because, conj., signifies by the cause of; behind, prep., in the rear of.

BI-, also BIS (L.), twice; a common prefix meaning two, twice, double, in two; as, biped, an animal having two feet; bisect, to cut into two equal parts; biscuit, twice cooked (-cuit, Fr.).

CAT'A, CAT- (Gr.), signifies down, against, opposition or contrariety, completeness, intensity; as, cataract, a falling or dashing down; catechise (e'cheō, I echo), to sound abroad, to instruct by asking questions, etc.

CIR/CUM, CIR’CU- (L.), around, about; as, circumambulate, to walk around; circumjacent, lying around.

CON- (L. cum, with), a prefix meaning with or together, and sometimes having a simple intensive force. Con- assumes the forms of co-, cog-, col-, com- and cor-; as, concur, to run together; coequal, equal with; cognate, born together or with; collect, to gather together; combine, to put two or more things together; correlative, relative with.

CON/TRA (L.), on the other hand, on the contrary, opposite, a common prefix, with its forms, contro and counter, signifying against, in opposition; as, contradict, to speak against; countermand, to order against; controvert, to turn against. . Con, a shortened form of contra, is used in the phrase pro and con, for and against.

DE (L.) signifies a moving down or from; as, depend, to hang down from; depose, to put down; descend, to go down from. Sometimes de has an intensive meaning, as in defunct, entirely done or gone through with (from fun' gor, func'tus, to perform).

DEM'I- (L. dimid'ium, the half), a common prefix signifying a half or part of that of which it forms the prefix, generally separated by a hyphen.

DIA(Gr.), through or asunder; as, diameter, the measure through; diaphanous, allowing light to pass through.

DIS- (L.) and its forms di- and dif- denote asunder or apart, a parting from, the opposite of, not; as, disjoin, to unjoin; diverge, to

incline apart; differ, to bear apart, to disagree; disadvantageous, not advantageous.

EN or EM. See IN.


EP'I (Gr.), on, upon, during, on the outside or above; epi has the forms ep- and eph-; ep- is used before a vowel, eph- with an aspirate and epi before a consonant; as, epitaph, an inscription on a (taph-os) tomb; epidermis, the cuticle or outer skin; that on or over the true skin (der'ma); ephemeral, lasting during a day.

EX (L. and Gr.), out of, out, off, from, without; also denoting merely increase of the power of the simple word. Ex assumes the forms e-, ec-, ef-, according to the letter commencing the word of which it forms the prefix; as, except, to take out; eject, to cast out; enormous, out of rule; eccentric, out of the center; efflux, a flowing out. Ex prefixed to the name of an office denotes that the person formerly held the office named, or does not now hold it, as ex-mayor, etc. Ex-officio, by virtue of office; ex-par'te (pars, par'tis, a part), partial.

EX'TRA (L.), on the outside, without; a common prefix denoting above or beyond the usual, in excess, additional, out of; as, extraordinary, beyond ordinary; extravagant, wandering beyond, wasteful (from vag'ans, wandering).

FOR- (A. S.), as a prefix to verbs, has usually the force of a negative or privative, denoting before, that is, against, or away, aside; as, forbid, to bid a thing away; forget, to away-get; to lose from memory.

FORE (A. S.) is another form of for, and denotes in front of, going or coming first; as, forenoon, the part of day before noon; foretell, to tell beforehand.

HY’PER (Gr.), a prefix signifying above, over or beyond, in reference to place or position; indicating excess when applied to quality or composition; in chemistry, applied to acids which contain the largest proportion of oxygen; as, hypercritical, critical beyond reason.

HY/PO (Gr.), under, beneath; as hypothesis, that which underlies an argument; a supposition.

IN (L.), (Gr. EN), with its forms it-, im-, ir-, em-, signifies in, into, on, in verbs and nouns; as, include, to shut in, incur, to run into; followed by l, in becomes il-, as in illuminate, to throw light on; followed by b, p or m, in becomes im-, as in immure, to put within walls, imbibe, to drink in, import, to carry in; followed by r, in becomes ir-, as in irrigate, to let water flow on. Some word are writ ten with en or in indifferently, as enclose or inclose.

In- (L.), with its forms ig-, il-, im-, ir-, signifies not in adjectives and nouns, as incorrect, not correct; followed by gn, in- becomes i, as in ignoble, not noble, ignorant, not knowing; followed by 1, inbecomes il-, as in illicit, not permitted; followed by p or m, in-becomes im-, as in immature, not ripe, imprudent, not prudent; followed by r, in- becomes ir-, as in irregular, not according to rule.

IN/TER (L.) signifies between, among, as, interpose, to place between. The French form is entre = enter, as in entertain.

IN/TRA (L.), within, on the inside, interior; as, intramural, within the walls (mu'rus, a wall).

IN/TRO (L.), within, into, in; as, introduce, to lead into.

JUX'TA (L.), near, next; as, juxtaposition, contiguity of position. MAL, also MAL'E (L.), a prefix signifying evil, ill, badly, as in malformation, malediction.

MET'A or MET- (Gr.), a prefix in words of Greek origin, meaning beyond, after, over, a change or transference; as, metaphysics, beyond physics; metonymy, a putting of one word or name for another; metaphor, a carrying (of a word) beyond its meaning.

MIS- (A. S.), a prefix signifying divergence, error, defect, wrong; as, misconception, an erroneous notion.

MULT- or MULTI (L. mul'tus, many), a prefix in many words which are mostly technical or scientific; as, multilateral, having many or more than four sides; multangular, having many angles.

NON (L.) signifies not, reversing the sense of the word which it precedes; a hyphen is generally, though not always, placed between non and the word following; as, non-appearance, failure to appear; nondescript, not described.

OB (L.), in front, in the way of, against; as, obviate, to meet in the way; ob becomes oc- before c, as in occasion; of- before f, as in offend; o before m, as in omit; and op- before p, as in oppose.

OUT (A. S.) signifies excess or superiority, from, off, beyond; as, outburst, a bursting from; outbid, to bid beyond.

PAN (Gr. pan, all), a prefix, with its forms pant- and pan'to, meaning all, everything; as, panoply, complete armor (hop'la, armor); pantheist, one who believes all creation to be God; pantology, universal science.

PARʼA (Gr.) and its contraction par- signify side by side; as, for comparison, alongside, near to, like, unlike, beyond; divergence or contrariety; as, parallel, by, beside or near one another (allēlŏn, one another); paraphrase, a version beyond the text.

PER (L.), through, thoroughly, by, for; as, pervade, to extend through; perfect, thoroughly made; per becomes pel- before 1, as

pellucid; standing alone, per signifies by; as, per annum, yearly, or by the year; per di'em, by the day; per se, by himself.

PER'I (Gr.) signifies around, about, near, with; as, perimeter, the outer line or measure around anything.

POL/Y- (Gr., from pol'us, many) signifies many, of, having many; as, polytechnic, denoting or comprehending many arts (těch'nē, art).

POST (L.), behind, after; as, postscript, written after; postpone, to put after, to defer.

PRÆ, PRE- (L.), before, in front of, very; as a prefix, præ is now generally spelt pre- in English; as, precede, to go before; prejudice, judgment beforehand.

PSEUDO (Gr.), a word frequently prefixed to another, and meaning false, spurious; from pseu'dēs, lying, false.

PRE/TER (L.), beyond, beside, by, more than; as, preternatural, beyond nature.

PRO- (L. pro, for; Gr. pro, before), a prefix signifying for, forth, forward, out; as, pronoun, for a noun; proceed, to go forth; provoke, to call forth; propel, to drive forward; pro- is sometimes changed into pur-, as in pursue, purpose; and into por, as in portrait. PUR-, a French form for pro; v. PRO.

RE- or RED- (L.), back again, anew, a second time; as, repel, to drive back; recommence, to begin anew; redeem, to buy back; redraft, a second draft.

RETRO (L.), backward, back; as, retrospect, a looking backward. SE- (L.), aside, apart, by itself; as, secede, to go aside; seclude, to shut apart.

SEM'I- (L.), half, half of, in part.

SUB (L.), under, below; as, subscribe, to write under. For the sake of euphony the b in sub becomes c, f, g, m, p or s, according to the first letter of the other part of the word; as in succeed, suffer, suggest, summon, supplant, sustain.

SUB'TER (L.), below, beneath (from sub, under); as, subterfuge, a flying under; subterranean, under ground.

SU'PER (L.), above, over, in excess; as, supernatural, above nature; supervision, an overseeing. Super sometimes takes the French form sur-; as, surcharge, to overload; surrender, to render


SYN- (Gr. sūn), with, together, united, as in syntax, a placing together (tas'sō, I put in order); syn assumes the various forms of sy-, syl- or sym-, according to the letter which begins the other part of the word, becoming sy- before s, as in system; syl- before 1, as ir syllable; sym- before p, b, m or v, as in symphony, symbol.

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