Common Prefixes and Examples

 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
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
archbig, mainarchaeological archetype archipelago architect archives
auto-do by selfautobiographical autocrat automate automobile automotive autonomous
bi-two,doublebicameral biennial bilateral
bio-living, lifebiographer biologist
centi-one percentcentigrade
co-togethercoagulate coalition
counter-oppositecounterbalance counterclockwise counterfeit countermand counterpart countervail
down-down, worsendowncast downpour
ever-lastingevergreen everlasting
ex-before, previousexaggerate exaltation exceed
extra-special, additionalextraordinary extrapolation
fore-front, beforeforebear forecast forefront foremost
hand-by handhandbook handicraft
hydro-with waterhydrophobia hydrosphere
ill-not good, not fitillegible illimitable illiterate
inter-between, connectedinteraction intercept interdependence interfere
mal-bad, negativemaladroit malaise malcontent malediction malefactor
man-by man, to manmandate maneuver manipulate
milli-one thousandthmillionaire
mini-small, tinyminiature minimalist minimise minimize
mis-wrong, errormisapprehension miscarriage mischance mischief misconceive
news-newsnewscast newsstand
over-beyond, more thanoverbalance overbearing overburden overcast overconfidence
post-after, postpostdate posterior postgraduate
pre-before, frontpreamble precaution precede
pro-like, supportproceed process proclaim
re-againreadjust reassurance
self-selfself-possession self-sufficient
semi-halfsemiarid semiliterate
sub-next level, short ofsubdivision subject subjugate submarine submerge
super-extremesupercilious superfluous supernatural supersede
tele-far distancetelecommunication telegraph telescope
trans-moving, crosstransaction transcend transform transfuse transgress
under-underundercharge underestimate undergraduate underground underline
uni-uniqueunicorn uniform unilateral unimpeachable
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
cardi-heartcardiologist
chron-time, historychronicle chronological
contra-againstcontradict
cross-crosscrossbones crossfire
electro-of electricityelectromagnetic electronics
fresh-just, freshfreshness
geo-related to earthgeology geometry
homo-samehomogeneous
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
video-videovideocassette