Both the prefix means the same thing eccentric - outer center vs external - outer all in all they means the same then what is the difference here?


According to the information at the link below, they both mean the same: 'outside' - however the 'ex' version is used before vowels, and the 'ec' version, before consonants.

The origins are also different - which is why they are different, in English - the ex is from Latin and Greek, the ec from Greek - so that's another reason for the seeming 'lack of logic' here - that they came from different countries and languages originally.

Eccentric is a Greek loan word, so it uses ec.


  • Exit (the way to outside)

  • Ectopic (outside the womb)

  • Eccentric (outside the norm)


Please see Janus Bahs Jacquet's comment below for a much more erudite and accurate description of how ec and ex are affected by surrounding letters.

  • 2
    You’re getting things conflated a bit here (or rather, Wordinfo is). In Greek, ec- (or ek-) is used before consonants generally, and ex- (or eks-) before vowels. In Latin, however, ex- is used before vowels as well as /s/ and unvoiced plosives /p t k/, while before other consonants the shorter form e- is used. Ec- is only used (1) in Greek loan words, like eccentricus, and (2) before /f/, and even there the /k/ assimilates to the /f/, giving /fː/ (written ff). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 15 '18 at 9:06
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    In have put another mention of Latin and Greek back in as I feel this is part of the point of my answer. – Jelila Feb 15 '18 at 21:25

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