This might only apply to a few nouns, but I was wondering if there is a special name for nouns that colloquially aren't preceded by an article. For example we say "eating dinner" instead of "eating a dinner"; in the latter case we would say "having a meal" instead. Is there a name for nouns such as dinner?
In syntax they're known as bare noun phrases, often referred to as bare NPs. They are the subject of much academic research. Especially interesting are those instances where the noun phrase is singular. There are important subcategories of bare noun phrase, such as bare role NPs. We find these in sentences such as Who'll be maid of honour?.
A prefix is a term of word formation as trans- in to translate or translation. The articles (a, an, the) are no prefixes. Grammar can give only basic and general information as the use or drop of articles is a dictionary problem with thousands of registrations. It needs long experience to get a feeling for the use of articles.It's not a matter of some rules and lists.
You can say "nouns that aren't preceded by an article" if you want Latin verbs or simply "nouns without article".