I wonder about words like:

  • Beseech
  • Befallen
  • Beholder (?)
  • Bewitch
  • Befool
  • Befriend
  • Befog

and so on...

Those words have always caught my attention, and I find them somewhat more sophisticated.

My questions are (no need to answer all at once) :

  1. Is there a category for such words? For example, if I would be to search for words like 'greater', 'higher', 'more beautiful', I would find them under the comparatives category.
  2. Can 'be-' be used as a prefix in general? If so, how does it work?
  3. How is the usage of such words viewed but a native English speaker? E.g. Archaic, poetic, prosaic, convoluted, just ok... ? I ask it because I've seen them to be used more in literature.
  • This might get you started: dictionary.com/browse/be- – cobaltduck Oct 17 '16 at 21:00
  • 2
    Interesting reading on etymonline: Be- can also be privative (as in behead), causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, such as bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s), betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s). – Dan Bron Oct 17 '16 at 21:00
  • 1
    We definitely need to bring back bethwack! – BladorthinTheGrey Oct 18 '16 at 6:05

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