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

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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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7answers
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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 ...
28
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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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2answers
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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
505 views

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"?
4
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2answers
587 views

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 ...
7
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4answers
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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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1answer
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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?
17
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4answers
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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 ...
8
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4answers
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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 ...
13
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2answers
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What is the history of adding the a- prefix to form words?

I have always found the a- prefix to words (as in anew, ajar, aside, awake, afoot, a-hunting, etc.) fascinating. The NOAD says on this topic: a- 2. prefix •to; toward : aside | ashore. ...
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What is the opposite of “meta”?

A while back I was talking about it with friends. Another question indicates a few meanings of the "meta-" prefix. Considering that "meta" means, in simple words, "about itself" (like how metadata is ...
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What is it called when you add 'im' to 'possible'?

I took the ESL certification test and I was wondering: what is it called when you add 'im' to 'possible'?
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3answers
3k views

adding a prefix “re” to a word, with or without a hyphen?

In science we often invent words, but that doesn't mean we know how to spell them. Most of the time words are invented by adding prefixes. In that case should there be a hyphen or not? Specifically, I ...
5
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2answers
7k views

Use of hypens with “auto”: autopopulate, auto-populate, or auto populate?

I've done a fair amount of research (like here), but I can't find any examples of hyphen rules with "auto". Microsoft Word doesn't take "autopopulate", but will accept either auto-populate or auto ...
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2answers
7k views

Meaning of “pro” before a noun

First, is "pro" an abbreviated form of "professional"? If yes, does "Pro American" mean "Professional American"?
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4answers
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Is “incomplex” a legitimate word?

I want to create a poster titled "An Incomplex Introduction to Complexity-based Cryptography." As you see, it contrasts the words incomplex and complexity. (Words like simple or easy do not provide ...
7
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3answers
943 views

Any other words that use “dis-” as an amplifying prefix?

I remember hearing once about the etymology of disgruntled, probably based around a joke about how people can not be gruntled. The explanation given was that there was never a word gruntled, rather ...
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3answers
1k views

Where did prefix exceptions originate?

Consider the following words: inflammable invaluable Each of these has the unusual property that its meaning is identical to its counterpart lacking the prefix. In almost all other cases, the ...
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What is a good replacement for “ununderstandable”?

I want to tell a colleague of mine I'm doing something that will prevent her from getting "ununderstandable" errors. I have: ...so that you will not get unnecessary, [ununderstandable] errors. ...
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4answers
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“Undistinguishable” vs. “indistinguishable”

Is there a difference between these two words? To me, it seems that undistinguishable is more where you can't tell what it is, and indistinguishable seems to be where they're the same. It seems a lot ...
7
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3answers
4k views

Are there any patterns to observe in choosing the correct negation prefix to use?

Are there any patterns to observe in choosing the correct prefix to use? There are other prefixes as well, but these are usually the ones I mix up. As in unbelievable, disproportionate, asymmetric, ...
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3answers
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Why are not “infamous” and “inflammable” the opposite of “famous” and “flammable”?

Why are not infamous and inflammable the opposite of famous and flammable, like incomplete, inactivity, inappropriate and so on?
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5answers
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“Irregardless” vs. “irrespective”

Why is irrespective considered a proper word but irregardless is not?