Questions tagged [prefixes]

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

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4answers
8k views

What's the distinction between “nonessential” and “inessential”?

I'm revising a text that uses the word "nonessential", but my ear is telling me "inessential." Usually when there are two very similar words like this, there is some subtle (or not so subtle) ...
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783 views

Which word is technically correct in English: debrick or unbrick?

With certain electronic devices if you make a mistake you can brick (used as a verb) the device, so that it ends up in a defunct state. So the device ends up being bricked. What is the correct term ...
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Meaning of “pro” before a noun

First, is "pro" an abbreviated form of "professional"? If yes, does "Pro American" mean "Professional American"?
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2answers
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Is there a gender-neutral prefix for “parent”?

The prefixes "patr-" and "matr-" refer, respectively, to father and mother--e.g., a patriarch is a father who rules a family, and a matrilineal society is one where property is passed from mother to ...
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3answers
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Is “uncomplete” a word? [closed]

Or would I just use incomplete? Would there be any instance that one would uncomplete?
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untypical, atypical, nontypical

I'm trying to label customer data with a word describing how typical they are. There is basically 3 possible values: typical, temporarily untypical, untypical. But I'm not sure if "untypical" is the ...
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3answers
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Are effect and affect related to efferent and afferent?

In my work I occasionally write about neurons. A common description of the relationship between two populations of neurons is to describe one as being "afferent" or "efferent" with respect to another. ...
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2answers
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Why does “pre-” change the meaning of “dominantly” to mean “for the most part; mainly”?

Consider the following two sentences: People in North America are predominantly English speakers. People in North America are dominantly English speakers. Merriam-Webster defines ...
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To outstay vs. overstay one's welcome

I came across the expression "outstayed my welcome" in the following excerpt of a novel I glance around and see that the café has filled up with people ordering lunch and that a couple is queuing ...
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3answers
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What is the combining form of 'Christian?'

I recently heard the term 'Judeo-Christian' which caused a thought to strike me. I don't know how to switch the order of the classical compound (word). What is the combining form of 'Christian?' ...
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1answer
370 views

Any connection between akimbo, askance and atremble?

I came across akimbo and askance today and wondered if they were related, with the opening 'a' signifying something. Apparently not: Akimbo — to stand "with hands on hips and elbows projecting ...
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1answer
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What's the word for the use of the wrong prefix or suffix?

For example if someone said unliterate instead of illiterate or discluded instead of excluded? Is there a word for this kind of grammatical error?
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1answer
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How did “perfidy” come to mean the absence of faithfulness / trust?

Perfidy is (OED): Deceitfulness, untrustworthiness; breach of faith or of a promise; betrayal of trust; treachery. The roots are per- and fidēs (faith) Per- carries several senses, but generally ...
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Pronunciation of the prefix “tri”

I know that English pronunciation is rather arbitrary. There are still some "rules" that even with many exceptions are useful for non-natives like me. I'm puzzled about the pronunciation of the very ...
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2answers
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Are prefixes, as bound morphemes, always separable from their root words?

The root words in the examples below look fine even without a prefix: un + bearable ir + regular dis + able mis + fortune ... but not in these: pro + gress pro + mote Possibly, I don'...
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Why don't we say things are pervious?

Why is the word "pervious" uncommon to the point of being considered a spelling error, but "impervious" is extremely common? For the record, it is a word, apparently. Dictionary.com defines it as: ...
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1answer
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Is there a fraction prefix for “(one-)third”?

I am a mathematician, working with things called 1⁄k-regular polytopes, dubbed thus by Conway. For the case of k = 2, as in ½-regular, it is naturally pronounced and written half-regular. However, I ...
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Terminology for a word containing a prefix/suffix or neither

Does terminology exist for discriminating between words which do/don't contain a prefix/suffix? How could I describe this difference in the synonyms 'discontinue' and 'stop'? Here, 'dis' is a prefix ...
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Is there a prefix for “infinite”?

I was looking for a prefix I could prepend to a word to mean an infinite amount of the thing the word describes. I eventually found someone with the same question, and since there were no answers, I ...
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Where did prefix exceptions originate?

Consider the following words: inflammable invaluable Each of these has the unusual property that its meaning is identical to its counterpart lacking the prefix. In almost all other cases, the prefix ...
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What exactly is different between “outspoken”/“softspoken” and “unspoken”/“misspoken”?

My brain completely misinterprets the last 2 of these words every time I read them: When I hear X is "unspoken", I interpret it to mean nobody speaks about X. When I hear X is "misspoken", I ...
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Why is it that denuding something means you strip it rather than dress it?

When we denude something we strip it, like the branches of a tree. That seems a bit inverted to me, shouldn't it be to nude-something?
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What does the prefix “aff” mean? [closed]

What does the prefix "aff" mean in the following words: affine, affirmative, affirm, affable, affection, affluent. Do they have some meaning in common?
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Verb for removing from end or beginning [duplicate]

We use "append" and "prepend" for adding to the end and to the beginning respectivly. Is there a word for removing in same place
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Biweekly, bimonthly, semi-confused [closed]

There seems to be a fair amount of confusion surrounding the meaning of the prefix bi when used with units of time measurement. Biweekly, according to dictionary.com, can mean either "occurring twice ...
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1answer
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Is this “over-negation” a grammatical phenomenon or pure coincidence?

To make things short, let's look at famous -- infamous, glorious -- inglorious The two pairs both illustrate what I temporarily refer to as "over-negation", in the sense that, for example, in ...
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Is “reoccurring” a word and is there any semantic difference with “recurring”?

The internet seems divided on this one. Although, e.g., the Merriam-Webster dictionary does not list the word "reoccurring", dictionary.com does list it as a variant of "occur", and the Oxford ...
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What is the difference between “dewatering” and “unwatering”

This report on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy refers to the process of removing water as unwatering. However, I always thought that this process was called dewatering. What, if any, is the ...
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“Reset” or “re-set”?

As far as I know there are two different meanings of the word "reset": to restore an object/value to a previous/initial state - that's the most widely use of the word;  to set the value/state a ...
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Why are there multiple prefixes for the same root word?

The root word I'm thinking of is comfort; two types of prefixes are applied to it, in the words discomfort and uncomfortable. Why is this?
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Rule to determine when to use the prefix “im” vs. “un” to negate a word starting with “p”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Negation prefixes: un-, dis-, a-, in-, … The prefix un is commonly used to negate a word, but is is quite rare with words that start with the letter p; the prefix im ...
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1answer
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Homeo- or homoeo-?

"Homeo-" seems to be more widely used nowadays to the extent that "homoeo-" is listed as a variant of it, and "homoeostasis" is listed as a variant of "homeostasis". However, there are multiple posts ...
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semi-business-related?

I'm writing my statement of purpose for grad school application. I would like to express "I came from an academic background that is half business-related", as I majored in E-business. What is the ...
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Is there any dictionary that decomposes an English word into prefix, root, and suffix?

Is there any dictionary that shows the decomposition of each word into these three parts, if application at all? For instance, "incapable" is divided into prefix "in", root "cap", and suffix "able". ...
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1answer
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Is there a name for when a prefix changes its meaning due to being strongly associated to a single word?

The prefix "crypto-" originally meant "hidden". Now, due to its association with "cryptography", the prefix has shifted to mean something more like "secure" when used in new words, e.g. "...
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1answer
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How do I use the prefix 'de-' correctly?

Is there a dictionary dedicated to word prefixes? I'd like to know more about de-, but there's no uniform meaning; for example, in demystify it signifies a reverse action, while in delimit it's a ...
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“Grudge” vs. “begrudge”

In Faulkner's The sound and the fury two sentences arrive close to one another which have made me wonder about the usage of grudge and begrudge. I know you grudge what I give him. And shortly ...
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Which form would be correct: cyber security, cyber-security or cybersecurity?

I want to stop changing my mind, I've used all three of the forms cyber security, cyber-security or cybersecurity at different times. There have been previous discussions on this (e.g. here and here) ...
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Are there prefixes which have the meaning 'originating from within', or 'originating from outside'?

I'm looking for prefixes which mean that something emanates/flows/comes from inside / outside, as opposed to existing / being located inside' ('endo-'), or 'existing / being located outside' ('exo-'). ...
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1answer
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Why do we have the prefix “be” in “befriend”? What's the rule? [duplicate]

What is the verb form of the noun friend? I know it is to befriend, but I am confused as to how to teach this to my daughter. When is the prefix be used to make verbs? Is "befriend" an exception?
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Using the prefix “be-”?

I read somewhere that the prefix be- can be used as a causative and this got me thinking. Does this mean that because means to cause to cause or to make cause?
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Should “pseudo” words be hyphenated?

While this question talks about the meaning of the word "pseudo", I'm wondering what the rules are for hyphenating words that start with this prefix. For example, would it be correct to call ...
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1answer
779 views

DIScomfort yet UNcomfortable

Why is the negation of comfort discomfort but the opposite of comfortable is uncomfortable? Or is the word "discomfortable" accepted too?
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To either revive or kill something

I'm wondering if there's a word out there for me. I think that a clever use of a prefix would do as well. So, to revive means to make alive, and to kill means to make dead. Is there a word that means ...
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5answers
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“Not able to” vs. “unable to”

Which phrase is more suitable to convey one's inability to do something — "not able to" or "unable to"? For example, not able to join the meeting unable to join the meeting
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I was wondering why there are multiple prefixes for the same meaning [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “unequal” but “inequality”? Origins of negative prefixes like in-, un-, il-, ir-, dis-, a- There are a lot of prefixes for meaning "opposite". ...
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What does “a-” before a verb mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The times they are a-changin' The times are a-changing? Why a-? While listening to some Bob Dylan I've noticed how he sometimes uses the construction a-verb (e.g. The ...
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Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
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1answer
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Why can “trans” be replaced with an x?

I can't think of an example, so I may be wrong about this, but I think I've seen people replace the prefix "trans" as in transport with an x. "Cross" makes sense, as in "railroad crossing", and I ...
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Antonym of the verb “complete”

I have an action on a web form. It's a button whose action is to complete a case. I need to name another button, and I want to use a verb that conveys the meaning of "undo the completion" of this ...