Questions tagged [prefixes]

A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word

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4answers
2k views

What is it called when you add 'im' to 'possible'?

I took the ESL certification test and I was wondering: what is it called when you add 'im' to 'possible'?
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Prefix or adjective meaning “one and a half”

Is there a prefix or adjective that means "one and a half", as "tri-" or "triple" is for "three"? The exact usage I have is to describe "18" in terms of a dozen. Where I live they've started making ...
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Why are there two Rs in “arrhythmic”?

It seems to me combining "a-"and "rhythmic" would intuitively be spelled "arhythmic". Is there a rule or some other practical reason that it's spelled arrhythmic?
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Why does “agree” have only one “g”?

According to Webster, agree comes from Latin ad + gratus. However there are other words such as aggregate and aggression that also come from ad + [something], and these words are spelled with a double ...
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“The service is temporarily unavailable” vs. “…not available”

Is there a difference? Both versions are common. If there is a difference, which do I use when, and why?
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What is the correct spelling of “X, schmX” to indicate dismissiveness (e.g., “evidence, schmevidence”)?

There is a curious construct in American English in which a word is stated and then repeated with the prefix "schm-" or "shm-" in order to indicate the speaker's dismissive attitude toward a concern ...
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1answer
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Prefix di- and bi-

I was wondering if there are differences between the cases of using di- and the cases of using bi-? For example, why carbon dioxide instead of carbon bioxide? Why binoculars instead of dinoculars? ...
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Is “dispreferred” a mainstream word in English?

I just recently came across the word dispreferred in a linguistic document. I have never heard the word used before, rather I generally hear something like "preferred something else" in everyday ...
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Preservation of the en- prefix form of Latin negative prefix in-, in enemy & enmity

The en- in enemy is a prefix meaning "not": the origin is Latin inimicus, from in- + amicus — a "not friend" or an "unfriend" (Online Etymology Dictionary—enemy). The Latin in- changed to en- when ...
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What is a prefix that means near?

For instance, if I were to describe someone as being *near-*carnivorous, I'm have the goal of depicting them as being a heavy meat eater that includes very few forms of non-meat based food in their ...
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'Irrealistic' or 'unrealistic'?

I basically learnt that words that start with a 'm' or 'p' get 'im' as a negative prefix, whilst words starting with 'r' get 'ir' in such a case (irreverent, irrelevant). However, I stumbled upon '...
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in-able ? un-able?

Suffix -able adds meaning "being able" to a word. I know that. Prefix in- and un- mean "not" or some negative meaning. I know that. However, when it comes to mixing of these, I am confused. ...
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Words having two prefixes incorporated

There are prefixes of time and order (pre-, post-), of location (sub-, super-), for expressing the reversing of an action (de-, dis-), and go on. English words may take prefixes from one or two of ...
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Pronunciation of en- prefix as ahn-

Recently, I pronounced the word enqueue as ahn-queue. The person I was talking to said he would have pronounced it with a more normal en sound (like in Ben or den). I'm not sure why I thought that ...
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Is “catenate” used in IT parlance?

When I was doing my IT degree in the 80s we learned that, in programming terms, concatenation was the act of joining two strings together. Recently I was reading a technical manual and came across ...
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Using the “ex” prefix on a multiple word subject

What is the proper way to use the "ex" prefix to more than one word? Examples: He is an ex-school bus driver. My ex baseball coach taught me. I am an ex-Fish and Game Warden. "ex-school"...
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Any other words that use “dis-” as an amplifying prefix?

I remember hearing once about the etymology of disgruntled, probably based around a joke about how people can not be gruntled. The explanation given was that there was never a word gruntled, rather ...
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1answer
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Why isn’t “disharmony” spelled “*dysharmony”?

Disharmony is a Greek word with a Latin prefix meaning “absence of harmony” or “bad harmony”. So why not spell it dysharmony, as one spells dysfunction or dyspepsia?
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“Inter-”, “multi-”, “cross-”, “trans-” in relation to disciplines

In academia the words inter-discipline, multi-discipline, trans-discipline, or cross-discipline are used to describe a type of combination between different disciplines or the uniqueness of a field. ...
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intro- vs. intra-

I recently found out that “extrovert” is a misspelling and that it’s actually written extravert. That makes sense, because other words use the same prefix, e.g. extraordinary, extradite, etc., but ...
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1answer
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Un-(adjective) but In-(noun) — does it ever go the other way?

Many pairs of words use un- as a prefix for the preferred adjective but in- as a prefix for the preferred noun (e.g. unstable/instability, unequal/inequality, unable/inability, unjust/injustice, ...
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If the prefix anglo- means “of the English”, what prefix means “of the Welsh”?

The title says it all! Even if Anglo doesn't quite mean "of the English" you get what I mean.
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If “hexa-” is a prefix representing six

Why does the word "hexadecimal" have the prefix "hexa-" if it has a base of 16, not 6?
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Change of form of some (Latin) prefixes like ex-, ad- into ef-, a-: are there rules or conditions?

There are many cases of prefixes changing their forms. For example ex- can change to ef- in front of f, e.g. effusion. ad- becomes a- in front of b, e.g. abate. Are there some more general rules or ...
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“Undistinguishable” vs. “indistinguishable”

Is there a difference between these two words? To me, it seems that undistinguishable is more where you can't tell what it is, and indistinguishable seems to be where they're the same. It seems a lot ...
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“Undertake” and “overtake”

Under- and over- seem to be prefixes with contrary meanings. But with the example of undertake and overtake, I don't see contrary meanings between them. Am I missing something?
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“para-” in words like “paraglider” and “parabrake”

As is well known, para-, in its meaning of "alongside or beyond", is derived from Greek loanwords such as paraphrase and parasite, while its meaning of "against" is derived from the Latin "be prepared"...
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In English, is there an established prefix for “mostly”?

For half, I could use semi, demi, or hemi. While semi does mean "half", it sometimes has a connotation of "some". Demi is often found with French roots. According to this link, hemi is the least ...
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Dust vs. Undust?

The entry for "dust" from LDOCE says: dust1 (n.) [uncountable] → HOUSEHOLD dry powder consisting of extremely small bits of dirt that is in buildings on furniture, floors, etc. if they are ...
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On throwing alligators through windows

Over at the excellent Lowering the Bar there is a discussion on throwing alligators through windows:- Let’s apply that definition to our infenestrated alligator. Absolutely, but first let’s ...
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Are there any formal infixes? [duplicate]

Infixes appear in words such as 'absolutely' to form 'abso-bloody-lutely', or as 'educate' to 'edu-ma-cate' in the Simpsons. I was wondering if there were any formal infixes. The only ones I could ...
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I need a word for my obscure phobia for hard, smooth structures

If I let myself, I become upset and a bit terrified by smooth hard structures. A good example is the most perfect sphere in the world, seen here. It's a polished sphere of solid silicon-28. The metal ...
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Why isn't the word “undiscovered” a double negative?

Why do we use the word undiscovered? As far as I know, un– and dis– have the same negative meaning; why don't we just say "covered"?
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Opposite prefix to 'de'

Given a word, say deregulate, is there a prefix to denote the opposite, rather than simply saying regulate? It seems fairly illogical to have one but I was wondering if something existed.
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Hyphens in verb construction containing prefix such as “re”

In semi-formal business writing in the United States, I often observe that writers tend to add a hyphen between a prefix and the root infinitive of verbs. In many of the cases, the resulting verb ...
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What comes in between predecessor and successor?

I'd like a good word for "current item in a succession of items". Let's say I am looking ahead, towards my successor. Back behind me, I can also see my predecessor. What am I? I'd hate to use the ...
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1answer
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A prefix for to describe doing something in close distance

When we want to describe an action which is done over a (physical) far distance, we attach the prefix 'Tele-' to the proper word related to that action: TELEvision, TELEphone, TELEgraph etc. I am ...
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Hyphens after the prefixes “non-” and “anti-” in mathematics

Is there a convention when to attach the prefixes non- and anti- to mathematical terms using a hyphen and when without? One uses non-zero but also noncommutative. Likewise for anti-. I no longer ...
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Adding “re” prefix

Can all verbs have "re" attached to the front of the word? I play Scrabble with a friend who feels that in the English language you can put "re" in front on any verb, and not just the ones listed in ...
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How to form this tag question?

We always use a positive tag question after a negative sentence: You shouldn't take this medicine, should you? We use a negative tag question after a positive sentence: She must leave early, ...
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What is the difference between a “prefix” and a “combining form”?

According to ODO, mini- is classified as a combining form. How exactly is this different from a prefix (or an affix, in general)? Can combining forms also be prefixes?
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What is the correct Latinate prefix for honey-eaters?

In English, a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy products can be referred to as an ovo-lacto vegetarian. By the same token, could a person who eats honey but is otherwise vegan be meaningfully called ...
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1answer
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Difference between the terms 'famous' & 'infamous'; 'valuable' & 'invaluable'

Question in Short: Why is it that the terms valuable and invaluable mean almost the same thing while the terms famous and infamous are almost semantically opposite in meaning? That is, one is used to ...
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Difference between “pangalactic” and “transgalactic”?

I am building a game and trying to give some fancy names to some objectives in my game. So, I was wondering about the difference between the words pangalactic and transgalactic? Does any of them ...
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1answer
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The significance of “y”

Regarding the pronoun "your", ignoring the singular possessive form. Is there some significance to the "prefix" y or is this a coincidence? Our: Collective possession, including me. Y our: ...
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Which animals can and can't be prefixed with “she-”?

I've heard of "she-wolf" (partially from mythology, partially from pop music), and I'm wondering which animals "she-" can and can't be used on. Wiktionary mentions a variety of animals (she-ass, she-...
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Is “incomplex” a legitimate word?

I want to create a poster titled "An Incomplex Introduction to Complexity-based Cryptography." As you see, it contrasts the words incomplex and complexity. (Words like simple or easy do not provide ...
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Is “unpeeling an orange” grammatically correct?

I found this unsourced reference. Which made me wonder if it is correct or not? Could this be considered an "auto-antonym" like ravel and unravel?
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The pronunciation of words which begins 'con' and 'com'

I know there is no strict rule on pronunciation of words in English but here my question is about the words which begin with 'con' and 'com', more than asking general rule. When I look at the words ...
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1answer
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How to hyphenate a negated compound noun?

We have a term for a process, "defect source assessment". We want to describe a set of processes that are not related to that process. Which of the following (if any) would be correct? non ...