My question concerns the following line on wikipedia page the word about Cess.

In colonial India it was applied, with a qualifying prefix, to any taxation, such as irrigation-cess, educational-cess, and the like.

I am confused the word cess, because it is used after the words irrigation and education yet it is called a prefix.

My first initial thoughts were that use of the word prefix was wrong. So I corrected it. And it stayed that way until few days later someone reverted my edit implying that it was obviously wrong since "Prefix" means before so Cess is a prefix. Now I, either, have been making some stupid grave mistakes throughout my life so far or am simply confused.

2 Answers 2


The passage you quoted says that "-cess" was used with a qualifying prefix. That means that "cess" itself is not the prefix. The prefixes cited as examples are "irrigation" and "educational".


I can understand where your confusion comes from. The writer of the Wikipedia article has a particular style it seems ... and I would probably dispute that in irrigation-cess and education-cess there are any prefixes or suffixes, as those terms are normally understood.

A suffix or prefix is a fixed set of terms (in-, un-, non-, -ness, -dom, etc) that are used to create new words in English, whereas education and irrigation are just what they are - adjectival descriptions of each type of "cess".

So I don't think you're especially confused, or guilty of making stupid life-long linguistic mistakes!

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