Prefixes (A to E)

Prefixes in English (A to E)


prefix is a letter or a group of letters attached to the beginning of a word that partly indicates its meaning in order to modify or change its meaning.

E.g. ex-press, ad-apt, under-neath, un-happy

Particularly in the study of languages,a prefix is also called a preformative, because it alters the form of the words to which it is affixed.

 NOTE:  Combining form or Affix (prefix, suffix…)

combining form is a linguistic atom that occurs only in combination with some other form which could be a word, another combining form, or an affix.
But unlike a combining form, an affix cannot attach to another affix. 

See more details below ↓

combining form - Merriam-Webster online dictionary

What are combining forms as opposed to prefixes and suffixes (general term affix)?

List of common prefixes -A to E 

Prefixes - F to P -

 a-, an- 

: not
: without 

asexual = lacking sex or functional sex organs
amoral = being neither moral nor immoral
atypical = not typical
anarchy = absence of government
atheist = one who believes that there is no deity


: to : toward
 ・in a specified state or manner
 ・in the process of (an activity)

aside = to or toward the side
aback = by surprise (take somebody aback)
asleep = in a state of sleep : sleeping
awake = to stop sleeping : to wake up
aloud = in a way that can be clearly heard
nowadays = at the present time
afoot = developing or happening now : in progress 


: of
: utterly 

anew = over again : once more ; in a new or different form
abashed = embarrassed or ashamed
afresh = from a new beginning
akin = similar or related

 ab-, abs- 

: away; from 

abduct = kidnap, lead away
abnormal = deviating from the normal or average
absorb = to suck up or take up
absolute = free from imperfection
abstract = disassociated from any specific instance

 also a-, ac-, af-, ag-, al-, an-, ap-, at-, as-, at- 

denoting motion or direction to
・ reduction or change into
・ addition, increase, or intensification 

advance = to move forward
ascend = to go up : to rise or move toward the sky
affiliate = officially attach or connect (a group or a person) to an organization
aggravate = to make (an injury, problem, etc.) more serious or severe
alleviate = to reduce the pain or trouble of (something)
annotate = to add notes or comments to (a text, book, drawing, etc.)
apprehend = to arrest (someone) for a crime : to catch (a criminal or suspect)
arrive = to come to or reach a place after traveling, being sent, etc.
attend = to go to and be present at (an event, meeting, etc.)
assemble = to collect (things) or gather (people) into one place or group
adjunct = something joined or added to another thing but not essentially a part of it

 ambi- ,amphi- 

: both, on both sides
: around 

ambivalent = having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone
ambiguous = doubtful or uncertain especially from obscurity or indistinctness
ambient = existing or present on all sides
ambition = an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power
amphibian = an animal (such as a frog or toad) that can live both on land and in water


: up
: back
: again
: apiece 

anatomy = a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms
analysis = detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation

anagram = a word or phrase made by changing the order of the letters in another word or phrase 

 ante-  ⇔ post- 

: before; preceding 

antecedent = 1) a word or phrase that is represented by another word (such as a pronoun)
      = 2) a thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another

antenna = a thin sensitive organ on the head of an insect, that is used to feel and touch things
anteroom (antechamber) = an outer room that leads to another room and that is often used as a waiting room
antediluvian = very old or old-fashioned 

 anti-, ant-  ⇔ pro 

: Against, hostile to
: Opposite of, reverse
: Counteracting, neutralizing
: Related to 

anticlockwise (counterclockwise) = in the direction opposite to movement of a clock's hands
antiabortion = opposed to abortion and especially to the legalization of abortion
antibacterial = active against bacteria
antisocial = averse to the society of others
Antarctic (⇔ Arctic ) = of or relating to the South Pole or the region around it 


: on : around
: to a great or greater degree : thoroughly
: excessively : ostentatiously ―in intensive verbs formed from simple verbs and in adjectives based on adjectives ending in -ed

: about : to : at : upon : against : across
: make : cause to be : treat as
: call or dub especially excessively
: affect, afflict, treat, provide, or cover with especially excessively 

becloud = to darken or obscure with clouds.
beset = (esp of dangers, temptations, or difficulties) to trouble or harass constantly
bemoan = to express distress or grief over; lament
befool = to fool; deceive; dupe.
befoul = to make dirty or filthy; soil; defile; sully
belong = to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (usually followed by to )
belay = to attach (a rope) to something so that it is secure
beloved = very much loved : dearly loved
befriend = to become a friend to (someone)


: (usually non-productive) Prefix originally denoting a town or city
: Prefix denoting nearness
: Prefix meaning secondary, incidental, or parallel to

bylaw = a rule that an organization makes and that its members must follow
bypass = a road that goes around a blocked or very crowded area
bystander = a person who is standing near but not taking part in what is happening
by-product = sth that is produced during the production or destruction of sth else
bygone = gone by : from a time in the past
by-election = a special election held between regular elections in order to fill a vacancy


: around 

circumstance = a condition or fact that affects a situation
circumference = the length of a line that goes around something or that makes a circle
circumvent = to avoid being stopped by (something, such as a law or rule)
      = to get around (something) in a clever and sometimes dishonest way

circumspect = formal : thinking carefully about possible risks before doing or saying sth
circumscribe = to limit the size or amount of (something) ― usually used as (be) circumscribed
       = to draw a shape around (another shape)

 co-, com-, col-, con-, cor 

: together; mutually; jointly
: partner or subordinate in an activity
: to the same degree
: (mathematics) of the opposite, of the counterpart 

collaborate = to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something
cooperate = to work together : to work with another person or group to do something
collude = to work with others secretly especially in order to do something illegal or dishonest
combat = active fighting especially in a war
coworker = a person who works at the place where you work : someone you work with
colleague = somewhat formal : a person who works with you : a fellow worker
collect = to get (things) from different places and bring them together
corrode = to slowly break apart and destroy (metal, an object, etc.) through a chemical process
confide = to tell (something that is secret or private) to someone you trust 

 contra- , contro-, 

: against; opposite; contrasting 

contrary = opposed in nature, position, etc
contraction = the act or process of making something smaller or of becoming smaller
contrast = to be different especially in a way that is very obvious
controvert = formal : to say or prove that (something) is untrue
contravene = formal : to fail to do what is required by (a law or rule)


: denoting opposition, retaliation, or rivalry
 : denoting movement or effect in the opposite direction
 : denoting correspondence, duplication, or substitution 

counterpart =
1) a person or thing holding a position or performing a function that corresponds to that of another person or thing in another place

2) one of two or more copies of a legal document

counterattack = an attack that is made in response to an attack by an enemy or opponent
counterbalance = formal : to have an effect that is opposite but equal to sth
            : to balance sth by being opposite

counteract = act against sth : to cause sth to have less of an effect or to have no effect at all
countermeasure = an action or device that is intended to stop or prevent sth bad or dangerous


: reversal, undoing or removing
: completely
: from; off
: down; away
: intensifying 

descend = to go down : to go or move from a higher to a lower place or level
despair = the feeling of no longer having any hope
depend = to be determined, based, or contingent : to be pending or undecided
deduct = to take away (something, especially an amount of money) from a total
derelict = no longer cared for or used by anyone
decamp = to leave a place suddenly and secretly
decode = to translate (data or a message) from a code into the original language or form
deceive = to make (someone) believe something that is not true
decline = to become lower in amount or less in number : to become worse in condition or quality
declaim = to say (something) in usually a loud and formal way
denote = to have (something) as a meaning : to mean : to show, mark, or be a sign of (something)


: half
: partly 

demigod = an extremely impressive or important person : a person who seems like a god in some way
demitasse = a small amount of black coffee that is served in a small cup ; also : the cup used to serve it
demimonde =a class of women on the fringes of respectable society supported by wealthy lovers; also : their world
demilune = a crescent or half-moon shape

 dia-, di- 

: through; across
: apart 

diagonal = a straight line joining two opposite corners of a square, rectangle, or other straight-sided shape
diagram = a drawing that explains or shows the parts of something
diameter = a straight line passing from side to side through the center of a body or figure, esp. a circle or sphere
diuretic =increasing the volume of the urine excreted, as by a medicinal substance

diakinesis = the fifth and last stage of the prophase of meiosis, following diplotene, when the separation of homologous chromosomes is complete and crossing over has occurred

 dis-, dif-, di- 

: expressing negation
: denoting reversal or absence of an action or state
 : denoting separation
 : denoting expulsion
: denoting removal of the thing specified
: expressing completeness or intensification of an unpleasant or unattractive action

dislike = to not like (something or someone)
disease = an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant
disarm = to take weapons from (someone or something)
dismantle = to take (something, such as a machine or structure) apart so that it is in separate pieces
disable = to cause (something) to be unable to work in the normal way
distrust = to have no trust or confidence in (someone or something)
discontinue =to end (something) : stop
differ = to be different
different = not of the same kind : partly or totally unlike
diffuse = spread out over a large space : not concentrated in one area
dispute = a disagreement or argument

 ex-, e- 

: out of
: outside
: former (but still living)
: (biology) Lacking

exit = something (such as a door) that is used as a way to go out of a place
exodus = a situation in which many people leave a place at the same time
expel =to officially force (someone) to leave a place or organization
exhale = to breathe out
extract = to remove (something) by pulling it out or cutting it out
except = not including (someone or something) : other than (something or someone)
expression =the act or an instance of transforming ideas into words : a manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc,
ex-directory = Brit, of a telephone number : not shown in a telephone directory : unlisted
ex-wife = a woman who was formerly a particular man's wife
eject =to force (someone) to leave : to push (something) out
evacuate =to remove (someone) from a dangerous place : medical : to pass (solid waste) from your body
emit =to send (light, energy, etc.) out from a source 

 extra-, extro- 

: outside, beyond 

extraordinary = very unusual : very different from what is normal or ordinary
extramural = existing or functioning outside or beyond the walls, boundaries, or precincts of an organized unit
extraterritorial = existing or taking place outside the territorial limits of a jurisdiction
extracurricular = (of an activity at a school or college) pursued in addition to the normal course of study
extraterrestrial = coming from or existing outside the planet Earth
extrovert = a friendly person who likes being with and talking to other people : an outgoing person