Is there a prefix related to “suf-” the way “pre-” is related to “post-”?

In my opinion, “pre-” seems to mean leading, “post-” means bringing up the rear (like a post script). “suf-” would seem to have more of the idea of a caboose (the end of something), and as such, maybe there isn't something related that has the idea of beginning.

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    Suffix comes from the Latin sub, 'under'. The extra F comes from assimilation with the F in fix. Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 0:38
  • Can you pairs of words with pre/post and then the analogous situation with 'suf' and the gap you're looking to fill?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 14:08
  • re: “suf-” would seem to have more of the idea of a caboose (the end of something) -- not necessarily. See: John (english.stackexchange.com/questions/96234/…) and Colin (english.stackexchange.com/a/96235/14666)
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 7:21

4 Answers 4


People have already said that suf- is a form of sub- (it can also be found as suc-, sug-, sum-, sup-, sur- and sus-).

What they left out is that it's opposite is super- or sur-. Yes, that does mean that one of the forms of sub- is exactly the same as one of the forms of its opposite! Languages that form organically over thousands of years aren't always logical.

A lot of cases with sub- and its variants have no logical opposite though, since e.g. subcutaneous means below the skin, but "above the skin" makes no sense, since we don't have any bit of us above the skin.

The example you give though, is an exception again. As suffix's antonym is prefix, because they don't have perfectly corresponding component parts. Again, English isn't always logical.

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    supracutaneous is widely known and used in STM literature.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 13:41
  • @Kris thanks, that's interesting and also reminds that supra- is yet another form of super-.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 11:36
  • Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one example where all four are used: phonetic segmentation and segmentational units. Presegmental (appearing before a segment), postsegmental (appearing after a segment), suprasegmental (being applied to something larger than a segment, standing thus ‘above’ individual segments), and subsegmental (individual features ‘under’ a segment) are all used in phonetics. Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:08

Depending on the context, if what we need is essentially the antonym of underlying state of an entity with respect to another, the generally adopted prefix would be supra- (considered the antonym of infra). The other generally used prefix in this sense is super- in certain cases.

above, over or greater than. (prefix) An example of supra is supraorbital, which means situated above the eye's orbit.
above (MW)
adverb above, especially when used in referring to parts of a text. [compare infra. Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English < Latin suprā (preposition) on top of, above, exceeding, (adv.) on top, higher up; akin to super-]

supraorbital and suborbital flight
measurement of sub-second and supra-second durations
sub-glacial and supra-glacial sediment


Suf- is a combining form of the Latin prefix sub-, (as John says). This has a literal meaning of "under", and you can see it with that meaning in words such as submarine and (with a transfer of meaning) subdivide.

But it is very often used in other metaphorical ways, so that the meaning of the word with the prefix is difficult or impossible to guess: suffer, subtend, sublime, suffuse, subtract etc.

I'm not quite sure what the meaning is that you are imputing to the prefix, so I can't offer a suggestion.


I think what corresponds to “suf-“ (as in suffix) is “pre-“ (prefix) as well.

“Affixation is, thus, the linguistic process speakers use to form different words by adding morphemes (affixes)[:] at the beginning (prefixation), the middle (infixation) or the end (suffixation) of words.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affix

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    In that particular case, yes. In general, no. Subsume and presume are not opposites, for example, and nor are suffer and prefer. Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:11

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