Common Prefixes and Examples

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 By Jiabao Hors
Morphology: Common Prefixes and Examples
Prefix is one of the main ways to derive new words, it's an affix placed before the stem of a word to form a new word. For example, if putting prefix "un" in front of "happy", we create a new word "unhappy". The "prefix" itself is another example, prefix "pre" plus "fix" forms a new word.

Prefix is applied to the original stem or existing word to change either lexical category or meaning. We will introduce common prefixes and theirs examples in following sections.

1. Prefix to Change Lexical Category
a-change to adj./adv.asleep aboard aside ashore ablaze
be-change to verbbefriend bewitch behead belittle bedim
em-change to verbembark embed embody empower embitter
en-change to verbendanger encourage enrage enforce enslave
out-change to verboutflank outnumber outpace outwit outsmart

2. Prefix to Make Antonym
de-decentralize decode decolonize dehydrate declassify
dis-dislike distrust disagree disorder dishonest
il-illegal illogical illiterate illegible illimitable
im-impatient impolite impossible immature import
in-incapable informal independent injustice inadequate
ir-irregular irresponsible irritable irrelevant irradiate
mal-malnutrition maladjusted malware malodorous malcontent   More words and examples
non-nonessential nonfiction nonprofit nonstop nondairy
un-unable uncertain untidy unfairly undo

3. Common Prefix with Specific Meaning
all-all, wholeallegation allegiance allegory allergic alleviate alliance alligator
anti-againstantibiotic anticipate anticlimax antidote antipathy antiquate antiquity   More words and examples
archbig, mainarchaeological archetype archipelago architect archives   More words and examples
auto-do by selfautobiographical autocrat automate automobile automotive autonomous   More words and examples
bi-two,doublebicameral biennial bilateral
bio-living, lifebiographer biologist
centi-one percentcentigrade
co-togethercoagulate coalition
counter-oppositecounterbalance counterclockwise counterfeit countermand counterpart countervail   More words and examples
down-down, worsendowncast downpour
ever-lastingevergreen everlasting
ex-before, previousexaggerate exaltation exceed
extra-special, additionalextraordinary extrapolation   More words and examples
fore-front, beforeforebear forecast forefront foremost   More words and examples
hand-by handhandbook handicraft   More words and examples
hydro-with waterhydrophobia hydrosphere   More words and examples
ill-not good, not fitillegible illimitable illiterate   More words and examples
inter-between, connectedinteraction intercept interdependence interfere
mal-bad, negativemaladroit malaise malcontent malediction malefactor   More words and examples
man-by man, to manmandate maneuver manipulate
milli-one thousandthmillionaire
mini-small, tinyminiature minimalist minimise minimize   More words and examples
mis-wrong, errormisapprehension miscarriage mischance mischief misconceive   More words and examples
news-newsnewscast newsstand
over-beyond, more thanoverbalance overbearing overburden overcast overconfidence   More words and examples
post-after, postpostdate posterior postgraduate   More words and examples
pre-before, frontpreamble precaution precede   More words and examples
pro-like, supportproceed process proclaim   More words and examples
re-againreadjust reassurance
self-selfself-possession self-sufficient
semi-halfsemiarid semiliterate
sub-next level, short ofsubdivision subject subjugate submarine submerge   More words and examples
super-extremesupercilious superfluous supernatural supersede   More words and examples
tele-far distancetelecommunication telegraph telescope   More words and examples
trans-moving, crosstransaction transcend transform transfuse transgress   More words and examples
under-underundercharge underestimate undergraduate underground underline   More words and examples
uni-uniqueunicorn uniform unilateral unimpeachable   More words and examples
up-up, lead changingupbring update upgrade
wellwell, readywell-being

4. Hard Prefix with Specific Meaning
aero-in airaerodynamics
ante-in front ofantecede antedate anterior
astro-space, cosmicastronomer
chron-time, historychronicle chronological
cross-crosscrossbones crossfire
electro-of electricityelectromagnetic electronics
fresh-just, freshfreshness
geo-related to earthgeology geometry
hyper-veryhypercritical hypersensitive
mega-very largemegalomania
micro-tiny, smallmicrocosm microfilm microscope
mono-single, alonemonochromatic monolithic monologue monopolize monotonous
multi-many, multiplemulticellular multifarious multiform multilateral multilingual
neo-newneoclassical neologism neonate neophyte
neur-of nerveneurotic
pan-all inclusive panacea pandemic panorama
para-vice, sub levelparadigm paragraph parallel paralyse
phon-of voicephonetic
poly-multiplepolygamist polyglot polygonal
quad-four relatedquadrilateral quadruped
socio-of societysociology
sur-over, passedsurcharge surface surging
sym-samesymmetrical sympathetic
tech-of technologytechnical technique technology
therm-hot, warmthermometer thermostat
tri-three relatedtribunal tributary trilogy
ultra-extreme, veryultrasonic ultraviolet