77 votes
Accepted

Why is it "behead" and not "dehead"?

We didn’t use de-head be­cause we al­ready had a verb be­head by the time we start­ed us­ing de- to cre­ate verbs: be­head was a verb in Old English, be­héaf­di­an. So be­head was al­ready used long ...
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  • 127k
56 votes
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Why is the prefix "Trans" shortened to "X"?

X is commonly used to refer to cross because of its shape of two lines crossing. Trans- means cross/across. Trans- and cross- are interchangeable in many cases. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine): In ...
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34 votes
Accepted

Logically, could the word "University" mean the opposite of "Diversity"?

Ignoring the fact that the word "university" doesn't mean the opposite of "diversity," your logic has a flaw: The "di-versity" comes from the Latin di(s)vers-, which has the same "dis" as in the Latin ...
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  • 43.9k
33 votes
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Why is the 'anti' in 'anti-semitism'?

There's of course the simple detail that in the case of ageism and sexism, we differentiate between ages and sexes respectively. Would you expect semitism to discriminate between semites? Anti-...
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  • 35.8k
31 votes

Why is the 'anti' in 'anti-semitism'?

The terms "ageism" and "sexism" demonstrate a use of the -ism suffix similar to "racism". When it's not describing prejudices or prejudgement, the "-ism" suffix seems generally to be used to refer to ...
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  • 647
30 votes

Proper term for knowing four or more languages?

Multilingual: A multilingual person, in a broad definition, is one who can communicate in more than one language, be it actively (through speaking, writing, or signing) or passively (through ...
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  • 3,702
29 votes

What does "autolyco-sentimental" mean?

Autolyco- From the Greek autolycus, meaning "the wolf itself" (i.e. savage, without sentiment). Wikipedia: Autolycus So, autolyco-sentimental is, perhaps, an oxymoron meaning both with and without ...
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  • 9,287
24 votes
Accepted

Non-existing or nonexisting

Short answer: neither. The word you want is nonexistent. Longer answer: You can actually add a "non" prefix to any word to make up something new, even if it's not in the dictionary. (If you ...
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23 votes

What do you call the other bit of a word with a prefix

Stem noun: the part of a word that is left after you take off the ending Although I'd disagree with that and allow "taking off the prefix" too, as per word stem: a stem is a form to ...
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21 votes
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How is "erogenous" incorrectly formed?

The stem of the Greek noun erôs "love, desire" is normally erôt-, not er-. So it should be erotogenic or erotogenous in English. Cf. phôs, phôt- "light", as in photograph, not *phograph; erotic, not *...
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21 votes
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Is “Untap” an equivalent of “Unleash?”

"Untap" does not seem to be a commonly used word. Most dictionaries I've looked at do not have an entry for a verb untap, although they do for the adjective untapped, which is actually an antonym of "...
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  • 73.8k
20 votes
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Dust vs. Undust?

Undust is used so little that you should indeed see it as obsolete. That ngram shows some results is not really relevant if you compare it with the occurences of dust. Your paranoia is uncalled for, ...
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  • 35.8k
20 votes

Why is the prefix "Trans" shortened to "X"?

In addition to the other edifying answers and comments: from an information-theory viewpoint, given the rarity of initial "x" in English words, the presence of it (especially if ...
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16 votes
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Is there any rule for pronouncing words beginning with “re-”?

Rule: Use a Dictionary Yes, there is a rule, and that rule is that you must look them up in a dictionary if you are not a native speaker. That’s because words beginning with re- in English can, ...
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  • 127k
16 votes
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How to hyphenate a negated compound noun?

While I would say the third of your options, "non-defect-source-assesment processes", is most correct, I would strongly suggest trying to rephrase the subject for clarity. The hyphens can be used to ...
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  • 894
16 votes
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Why can "trans" be replaced with an x?

Trans is sometimes replaced by x as an abbreviation, because trans means cross, or across, and the letter x as a symbol is a cross.
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  • 14.9k
15 votes

When is the prefix non- used vs un-?

"Un-" is defined as "a prefix meaning 'not,' freely used as an English formative, giving negative or opposite force in adjectives and their derivative adverbs and nouns... and less freely used in ...
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  • 2,190
14 votes
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Why are there two Rs in "arrhythmic"?

Actually, "arhythmic" is recognized by many dictionaries as an alternate spelling (for example, Merriam Webster). As Henry notes, the Greek word is ἄρρυθμος "arrhythmos", so the spelling with one r ...
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  • 73.8k
13 votes
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Any word followed by "proof" means that something is protected against that word

Yes, this is the normal way that compound words are formed. The second meaning of proof as defined by the online Merriam-Webster is designed or made to prevent or protect against something harmful ...
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  • 20.7k
13 votes

What does the prefix iso- mean in "isolate"?

The etymology of isolate is not the same as the prefix 'iso'. isolated (adj.) 1763, from French isolé "isolated" (17c.) + English -ated (see -ate (2)). The French word is from Italian ...
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  • 2,582
12 votes

Is “Untap” an equivalent of “Unleash?”

There's a lot going on here. Both verbs have an un- prefix, in the sense of 'remove'; unleash means 'remove the leash' and untap means 'remove the tap'. In either case, some encumbrance is released. ...
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12 votes
Accepted

What does "autolyco-sentimental" mean?

The quote is not Berlioz but from Wagner’s book-length essay “Oper und Drama” (Opera and Drama). Wagner wrote it in 1851, and it was published the following year in Leipzig. Your text is just one ...
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  • 127k
12 votes

What does "autolyco-sentimental" mean?

Completing @tchrist's answer (since I'm not able to comment), here is a quote from the original, which you can read in its entirety here: Weber wollte ein Drama hergestellt haben, das überall, ...
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12 votes

Why is the 'anti' in 'anti-semitism'?

I propose that your difficulty with this word is not because of the prefix "anti" but because of the suffix "ism". There are hundreds and hundreds of words in English that end with "ism". (3824 ...
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  • 871
11 votes

Is "disconfirm" a word?

Yes. Some dictionaries include it, like m-w.com: to deny or refute the validity of And TFD: (tr) (of a fact or argument) to suggest that a hypothesis is wrong or ill-formulated However, ...
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9 votes
Accepted

untypical, atypical, nontypical

Atypical is by far the most common of the three, as confirmed in a Google Ngram search, so that would be my suggestion. Untypical is apparently most often used in the phrase "not untypical". Another ...
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  • 533

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