A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word

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What's the distinction between “nonessential” and “inessential”?

I'm revising a text that uses the word "nonessential", but my ear is telling me "inessential." Usually when there are two very similar words like this, there is some subtle (or not so subtle) ...
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Why doesn't the prefix “in” in “invaluable” mean “un-” as in other adjectives? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where did prefix exceptions originate? efficient accessible consistent articulate considerate conceivable convenient   inefficient inaccessible inconsistent ...
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“The service is temporarily unavailable” vs. “…not available”

Is there a difference? Both versions are common. If there is a difference, which do I use when, and why?
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Why are there multiple prefixes for the same root word?

The root word I'm thinking of is comfort; two types of prefixes are applied to it, in the words discomfort and uncomfortable. Why is this?
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340 views

Why isn’t “disharmony” spelled “*dysharmony”?

Disharmony is a Greek word with a Latin prefix meaning “absence of harmony” or “bad harmony”. So why not spell it dysharmony, as one spells dysfunction or dyspepsia?
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Opposite prefix to 'de'

Given a word, say deregulate, is there a prefix to denote the opposite, rather than simply saying regulate? It seems fairly illogical to have one but I was wondering if something existed.
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“Aforementioned” or “beforementioned” [closed]

I asked a question on the origin of the word aforementioned. To me, it would seem that this word should be beforementioned instead. Why does it begin with afore-? Also, does this mean afore can be ...
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What is the story behind “a-” prefix / suffix?

For example, If this van's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin' Here We Come A-caroling (song title) Come on-a My House (song title) I have a few related questions: What is the "a-" or "-a" called? ...
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Meaning of the “rupt” suffix/prefix

I was wondering the other day about the word corrupt, found that the suffix "rupt" appears in many words and as a prefix for another set and decided to ask this question: What does "rupt" mean? ...
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“Unconscious” versus “nonconscious” in everyday dialogue

These words have subtle distinctions in related research fields, but even there are often considered interchangeable or just an matter of tradition/trendiness in a particular field. Since I am a bit ...
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If the prefix anglo- means “of the English”, what prefix means “of the Welsh”?

The title says it all! Even if Anglo doesn't quite mean "of the English" you get what I mean.
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1answer
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How do I use the prefix 'de-' correctly?

Is there a dictionary dedicated to word prefixes? I'd like to know more about de-, but there's no uniform meaning; for example, in demystify it signifies a reverse action, while in delimit it's a ...
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Is “uncomplete” a word? [closed]

Or would I just use incomplete? Would there be any instance that one would uncomplete?
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What is the antonym of the prefix retro-?

A coworker and I are discussing the word "retromingent", which means urinating backwards. We are wondering what the opposite would be: the word that means urinating forwards. What is the opposite of ...
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6answers
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Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
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1answer
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Should “pseudo” words be hyphenated?

While this question talks about the meaning of the word "pseudo", I'm wondering what the rules are for hyphenating words that start with this prefix. For example, would it be correct to call ...
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Antonym of the verb “complete”

I have an action on a web form. It's a button whose action is to complete a case. I need to name another button, and I want to use a verb that conveys the meaning of "undo the completion" of this ...
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Is there a reason to use “mono” over “uni”?

I'm just interested in knowing if there is any non-arbitrary basis for using prefixes "mono" or "uni" when words are initially being coined. As far as I can tell, they mean the same thing as a prefix. ...
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0answers
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What does “a-” before a verb mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The times they are a-changin' The times are a-changing? Why a-? While listening to some Bob Dylan I've noticed how he sometimes uses the construction a-verb (e.g. ...
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Rule or white list of words that can be prefixed with “up-” or “down-”

Some words (verbs and nouns) can get up- or down- attached before them to get new meaning. For example, Grade becomes upgrade or downgrade. Vote becomes upvote or downvote. Load becomes upload or ...
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Why does “unisex” mean both sexes?

There are some places where men and women are segregated — for example public toilets and public swimming pool changing areas. By this I mean, for example, that there are "Men's toilets" and "Ladies' ...
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1answer
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Where can I find a relatively inclusive word-list for analysis of prefixes and suffixes? [closed]

To illustrate a simple example, when I encounter the word "claustrophobia", what I already knew is the left part "claustro-" means "small and enclosed", and I want to discover if "-phobia" has a fixed ...
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“Undertake” and “overtake”

Under- and over- seem to be prefixes with contrary meanings. But with the example of undertake and overtake, I don't see contrary meanings between them. Am I missing something?
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What determines whether a numerical prefix is allowable for a unit? [closed]

The prefix centi- means 10-2. But while centimetre is common, I have never heard of a centiwatt or a centisecond. The prefix Mega- means 106. Hence Megabytes exist. So why do we not have Megametres? ...
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4answers
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“Uncapable” or “incapable”?

In Microsoft Word, uncapable is marked as wrong. It sounded pretty alright to me, thus, I checked it up on the Web and found that many dictionaries do not have "uncapable" in their entries, but ...
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Rule to determine when to use the prefix “im” vs. “un” to negate a word starting with “p”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Negation prefixes: un-, dis-, a-, in-, … The prefix un is commonly used to negate a word, but is is quite rare with words that start with the letter p; the prefix ...
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Adding “re” prefix

Can all verbs have "re" attached to the front of the word? I play Scrabble with a friend who feels that in the English language you can put "re" in front on any verb, and not just the ones listed in ...
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Use of prefixes mis- and mal-

The prefixes mis- and mal- basically mean the same thing. Mal-, from French, meaning "bad, badly, ill" and mis-, from Old English, meaning "bad, wrong". In some cases, mis- can derive from mes- ...
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5answers
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'Shelled' vs. 'deshelled'

Are they interchangeable? Do they really mean the same thing in this context? As in the sentences: I really enjoy these already shelled pistachios. I really enjoy these already deshelled ...
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What is the opposite of the “sub” prefix?

The term subcategories refers to lower level categories. Which term should I use to refer to higher level categories? Does supercategories sound right?
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2answers
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“Grudge” vs. “begrudge”

In Faulkner's The sound and the fury two sentences arrive close to one another which have made me wonder about the usage of grudge and begrudge. I know you grudge what I give him. And shortly ...
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3answers
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How does the “be-” prefix change the words to which it is applied? How did it come about?

What does the be- prefix change when applied to adjectives and verbs? There are many such words that seemed to be coined of this process, for example: behold, beget, befallen, beridden, ...
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Is there a general rule for the prefixation of “un-” and “de-” to words?

Given the different questions we have seen about the prefixes "de-" and "un-", I have grown curious if there is a overarching rule for terms that need undoing. “Unselect” or “Deselect”? “Unregister” ...
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“Unregister” vs “Deregister”

The concept of "undoing a registration" is widely used in my line of work. While most dictionaries define unregister as the proper verb for it, several widely used and highly considered sources also ...
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Using the “ex” prefix on a multiple word subject

What is the proper way to use the "ex" prefix to more than one word? Examples: He is an ex-school bus driver. My ex baseball coach taught me. I am an ex-Fish and Game Warden. ...
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Monetary amounts: 'thousands' prefix has opposite capitalisation to SI

One thing I noticed recently when looking through some reports is that thousands are often abbreviated, in a similar way to scientific measurements are abbreviated. E.g. $1,000,000 becomes $1m and ...
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Why is “insatiable” pronounced as if it was “unsatiable”? [closed]

Why is insatiable pronounced as if it was unsatiable?
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If “hexa-” is a prefix representing six

Why does the word "hexadecimal" have the prefix "hexa-" if it has a base of 16, not 6?
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What we've gelost — why doesn't English use the prefix “ge-”?

The Germanic languages that I'm familiar with all use a prefix similar to ge- on past participles: German: Ich habe mir den Fuß gebrochen. Dutch: Ik heb mijn voet gebroken. But English ...
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Prefix “a” in “amaze”

Usually the prefix "a" means "not" or "without", for example: atheist, anarchy. But, in "amaze" it's not the case, since the word maze means "confusing" or "labyrinth" and "amaze" means "surprise". Is ...
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“pseudo-”, “quasi-” “semi-” and

I was wondering about the meaning of "pseudo-", "quasi-" "semi-" and possibly other related prefixes, in general cases. Particularly, in engineering and science, there are quite a few terms named ...
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“Biweekly”, “bimonthly”, “biannual”, and “bicentennial”

What do lengths of time with the "bi" prefix mean"? I have understood bicentennial as once every two hundred years, but biannual as meaning twice a year. Do biweekly and bimonthly mean twice a week or ...
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“Unselect” or “Deselect”?

If I want the user to revert their operation of selecting an item, should I say: "Unselect the option" or "Deselect the option"?
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'Irrealistic' or 'unrealistic'?

I basically learnt that words that start with a 'm' or 'p' get 'im' as a negative prefix, whilst words starting with 'r' get 'ir' in such a case (irreverent, irrelevant). However, I stumbled upon ...
6
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5answers
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Why isn't the word “undiscovered” a double negative?

Why do we use the word undiscovered? As far as I know, un– and dis– have the same negative meaning; why don't we just say "covered"?
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2answers
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Biweekly, bimonthly, semi-confused [closed]

There seems to be a fair amount of confusion surrounding the meaning of the prefix bi when used with units of time measurement. Biweekly, according to dictionary.com, can mean either "occurring twice ...
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Origins of negative prefixes like in-, un-, il-, ir-, dis-, a-

I've read here about origins of in- and un- negative prefixes. Are there any known origins of other negative prefixes such as il-, ir-, dis-, a-?
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Why “unequal” but “inequality”?

The opposite of "equal" is "unequal", yet there is no word "unequality". Why do we use "inequality" instead?
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Isn't the word “uninstall” wrong?

I've never understood this. Why is the proper usage "uninstall"? You can't actually "unin" something at all and this isn't that case with most (all?) other use cases. Examples: You make someone ...
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Pronunciation of en- prefix as ahn-

Recently, I pronounced the word enqueue as ahn-queue. The person I was talking to said he would have pronounced it with a more normal en sound (like in Ben or den). I'm not sure why I thought that ...