It's clear that there is a distinct difference between "pro-" which is against anti- and used for example as "you are pro the manifest", and the other word "support" which is used such as in "He supports the team to win".
Both of these have a difference in meaning, I think, while their meanings are similar. But it's difficult to explain it in words. What do you think?

I know hot to use them, that is their usages, is different, of course, while one of them is usually a verb and the other is a preposition or prefix etc.

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    One wouldn't say "you are pro the manifest." "Pro" in the sense of "for" is not used unless affixed to another word. Feb 22, 2017 at 1:49
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    @KatherineLockwood Agreed in regards use of "pro-" as a prefix, but the C.E.D. uses "pro or anti the bill" in its example for pro _adjective, preposition, making "pro the manifest" fine.
    – traktor
    Feb 22, 2017 at 2:44
  • I am pro women's right to choose (to have an abortion). I support women's right to choose. Or: I am pro gun control. I support gun control. You are right that the idea conveyed is the same, but that the part of speech is different. Feb 22, 2017 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


Please remember that the Latin origin of 'pro' literally meant 'for'

'I am for (this or that)' does convey a similar idea but is a very different part of speech from 'I support (this or that)'

Despite its clear origin, English ‘pro’ is centuries away from being truly equivalent to ‘pro’ in Latin.

English ‘pro’ is almost exclusively used as part of compound adjectives, such as ‘I am a pro-Brexit voter’ not ‘I am pro Brexit’ or ‘I have pro-immigration views’ rather than ‘I am pro immigration.’

The other principal instance would be in formal systems of voting, as in councils taking decisions on local government, where rather than ‘yes or no’ members might be asked to vote ‘pro or anti’ in the same way Members of Parliament are asked to vote not ‘yes or no’ but ‘aye or nay’

One would would not say 'you are pro the manifest' and one would use 'He supports the team' without adding 'to win'.


I agree with OP that there are different nuances. I suggest pro, or more commonly pro-, relates to the mind, to an opinion held. Support is more practical, related to some action taken, or which could be taken in future.

If someone says he is pro-Brexit I understand that he wants the UK to leave the EU.

If someone says he supports Brexit I think I could ask him in what way. Assuming he is a resident of the UK, and a Commonwealth/RoI citizen, then I would at the very least assume that he had made the effort to vote for it. Perhaps he may have delivered leaflets, or attended a demonstration, or even tried to convince friends or colleagues. Whatever he did, I would think as a supporter he did something, or at the very least would be willing to do something if certain circumstances arose.

There is no such implication that someone who is pro-Brexit has done, or ever would do, anything practical about it.

In the case of a supporter of a football team she may attend games, or cheer them when on TV, or tell friends they are her favourite. Exactly what a supporter does is not the point, but they do something, whereas someone who is just pro a particular team simply wants them to win.

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