If "un" means "not" and "to" means in the direction of, then why doesn't "unto" mean not to or not in the direction of?

closed as off-topic by Hellion, Lawrence, Laurel, choster, Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '17 at 23:29

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  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/q/77147/24489 – StoneyB Nov 9 '17 at 18:19
  • Welcome to EL&U. Please note that questions that can be answered with common references are off-topic here, and a dictionary lookup of unto should dispel the notion that the un- here is the Latin prefix meaning not. I encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. – choster Nov 9 '17 at 21:20

"Un" is not derived from a prefix meaning "not" in this case. See https://www.etymonline.com/word/unto:

{mid-13c., perhaps a modification of until, with southern to in place of northern equivalent till. Or perhaps a contraction of native *und to, formed on the model of until from Old English *un- "up to, as far as," cognate of the first element in until. "Very rare in standard writers of the 18th c.," according to OED, and since then chiefly in dignified, archaic, or Biblical styles.}

It is an archaic word, found chiefly today in the King James Bible, which was written about four hundred years ago and undoubtedly was influenced by even earlier English translations such as the 14th century Wycliffe Bible. You can be misled if you try to interpret such a word based on modern English.

  • Please summarise the relevant information. Links can break, and SE is intended as a standalone source of information (albeit sourced and correctly referenced/cited from elsewhere). – Andrew Leach Nov 9 '17 at 16:44

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