English Language Guide: Prefix

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English prefixes are affixes (i.e., bound morphemes that provide lexical meaning) that are added before either simple roots or complex bases (or operands) consisting of (a) a root and other affixes, (b) multiple roots, or (c) multiple roots and other affixes. Examples of these follow:
  • undo (consisting of prefix un- and root do)
  • untouchable (consisting of prefix un-, root touch, and suffix -able)
  • non-childproof (consisting of prefix non-, root child, and root proof)
  • non-childproofable (consisting of prefix non-, root child, root proof, and suffix -able)
English words may consist of multiple prefixes: anti-pseudo-classicism (containing both an anti- prefix and a pseudo- prefix).
Prefix Meaning Example
A- verb > predicative adjective with progressive aspect afloat, atremble
Be- equipped with, covered with, beset with (pejorative or facetious) bedeviled, becalm, bedazzle, bewitch
Co- joint, with, accompanying, together co-worker, coordinator, cooperation
Counter- against, in opposition to counteract, counterpart, counterterrorism
Down- to make something lesser, lower or worse downgrade
En-/em- to make into, to put into, to get into enmesh, empower
Ex- former ex-husband, ex-boss, ex-colleague
for- without forbid, forget, forgo
fore- before forearm, forerunner, foretell
Mid- middle midlife
Midi- medium-sized midi-length
Mini- small minimarket, mini-room
Mis- wrong, astray misinformation, misguide
Out- better, faster, longer, beyond outlive, outreach
Over- too much overreact, overact
Re- again, back rerun
Self- self self-sufficient
Step- family relation by remarriage stepbrother
Twi- two twibill, twilight
Un- not, opposite of unnecessary, unequal
Un- reverse action, deprive of, release from undo, untie
Under- below, beneath, lower in grade/dignity, lesser, insufficient underachieve, underground, underpass
up- to make something greater, higher, or better upgrade
with- against withhold, withstand
ab-, a, abs- away from abduct, abnormal
Afro- relating to Africa Afro-American
ambi- both ambitendency
amphi- two, both, on both sides amphiaster, amphitheater, amphibian
an-, a- not, without anemic, asymmetric
ana-/an- up, against anacardiaceous, anode
Anglo- relating to England Anglo-Norman
ante- before antebellum, antediluvian, antenatal
Anti- opposite anti-clockwise
Anti- against anti-war, anti-virus, anti-human
Apo- away from apomorphine
Arch- supreme, highest, worst arch-rival, archangel
Astro- star astrobiology
Auto- self autobiography, automatic
Bi- two bicycle
Bio- biological biodegrade
Circum- around circumnavigate
Cis- on this side of cislunar
Con-, co-, col-, com-, cor- together or with confederation, commingle, colleague, correlation, cohabit
Contra- opposite contradict
Cryo- ice cryogenics
Crypto- hidden, secret cryptography
De- down depress
De- reverse action, get rid of de-emphasise
Demi- half demigod
Demo- people demography
Di- two dioxide
dia- across, through diameter
dis- not, opposite of disloyal, disagree
Dis- reverse action, get rid of disconnect, disinformation
Dis-, di-, dif- apart differ, dissect
Du-, duo- two duet
Eco- ecological ecosystem
Electro- electric, electricity electro-analysis
Epi- upon, at, close upon, in addition epidermis
Euro- European Eurocentric
Ex-, e-, ef- out of export
Extra- outside extracurricular
Fin- kinship affinity
Franco- French, France Francophile
Geo- relating to the earth or its surface geography
Hetero- different heterosexual
Hemi- half hemimorphic
Homo- same homosexual
Hydro- relating to water, or using water hydroelectricity
Hyper- above, over hyperthermia
Hypo- under or below something, low hypothermia
Ideo- image, idea ideograph
Idio- individual, personal, unique idiolect
In- in, into insert
In-/il-/im-/ir- not, opposite of inexact, irregular
Indo- relating to the Indian subcontinent Indo-European
Infra- below, beneath infrared
Inter- among, between intercede
Inter-, intel- between, among interact, interstate
Intra- inside, within intravenous
Iso- equal isochromatic
Macr(o)- long macrobiotic
mal- bad, badly malnourish
Maxi- very long, very large maxi-skirt
medi- middle medieval
Mega-, megalo- great, large megastar, megalopolis
Meta- after, along with, beyond, among, behind meta-theory
Micro- small microbacillus
Mon(o)- sole, only monogamy
Multi- many multi-storey
Neo- new neolithic
Non- not nonexistent
Octo- eight octagon
Omni- all omnipotent, omnipresent
Paleo- old paleolithic
Pan- all, worldwide pan-African
Para- beside, beyond parallel
Ped-/pod- foot pedestrian, podiatrist
per- through, completely, wrongly, exceedingly permeate, permute
peri- around perimeter, periphrase
Photo- light, photography, photograph photoelectric
poly- many polygon
Post- after postpone, post-election, post-graduation
pre- before predict
Preter- beyond, past, more than preternatural
Pro- substitute, deputy proconsul
Pro- for, on the side of pro-life
Pro- before procambium
Pros- toward prosthesis
Proto- first, original protoplasm, prototype
pseudo- false, imitation pseudonym
pyro- fire pyrokinetic
quasi- partly, almost, appearing to be but not really quasi-religious
retro- backwards retrograde
semi- half semicircle
soci- society, social, sociological sociopath
sub-, su-, suc-, suf-, sug-, sum-, sup-, sur-, sus- below, under submerge, success, support, surreptitious, suspect, sustain
super- above, over supervisor
supra- above, over suprarenal
sur- above, over surname, surreal, surrender
syn-, sy-, syl-, sym-, sys- together, with synthesis, symbol, syllable, system
tele- at a distance television
trans- across transatlantic, transverse
tri- three tricycle
ultra- beyond ultramagnetic, ultraviolet
uni- one unicycle
vice- deputy vice-president, vice-principal