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  ENGLISH GRAMMAR for ESL learners  


PREFIXES WITH THEIR MEANING


A prefix is a group of letters added to the beginning of a word to form a new word with a different meaning.
(By contrast, a group of letters attached to the end of a word is called a 'suffix'.)
It is important to know the meaning of each prefix in order to understand the meaning of the new word.
For example, the prefix 'semi' added to 'circle' forms a new word: semicircle (= half a circle)
Note: There is no absolute rule concerning the use of hyphens.
Here are some examples of commonly-used prefixes, with their meaning.

PREFIXES IN ENGLISH

ante- (before) anti- (against) auto- (self, same) de- (down, reverse)
antecedent
antechamber
antenatal
antepenultimate
antibiotic
anticoagulant
anti-pollution
antiseptic
autobiography
autofocus
autograph
autoimmune
deactivate
decompress
degrade
devalue
dis- (opposite of) extra- (beyond) hyper- (extreme) il-, im-, in-, ir- (not)
disagree
disappear
dishonest
dislike
extracurricular
extrajudicial
extra-terrestriel
extraordinary
hyperactive
hypermarket
hypertension
hyperventilate
illegal
immoral
incomplete
irrelevant
inter-(between, among) intra-, intro-(within, inside) macro- (large) mega- (very big)
intercultural
intermingle
international
interstate
intracerebral
intramuscular
introspection
introvert
macrobiotic
macrocosm
macroeconomics
macroorganism
megabyte
megaphone
megapixel
megawatt
micro- (very small) mini- (small/short) mis- (incorrect) mono- (one, alone)
micro-biology
microchip
microscope
microwave
minibar
minibus
minischool
miniskirt
miscalculate
misinterpret
mispronounce
misspell
monochrome
monogram
monologue
monotheist
multi- (many) omni- (all, every) over- (too much) out- (go beyond)
multimillionaire
multinational
multistorey
multitask
omnibus
omnipotent
omnipresent
omnivore
overburden
overcharge
overcrowded
overrated
outdated
outgrow
outrun
outweigh
poly- (many) post- (after) pre- (before) pro- (in favour of)
polygamy
polygon
polyglot
polyphonic
postgraduate
postmortem
postnatal
postscript
preheat
prepack
prepay
preview
pro-communist
pro-government
pro-life
pro-nuclear
semi- (half) sub- (below) super- (above) trans- (across, through)
semi-annual
semicircle
semi-conscious
semi-detached
subcontract
submarine
subtitle
substandard
superintendent
superstar
supernatural
superimpose
transalpine
transatlantic
transgenetic
transplanetary
un-(not, opposite of) under- (less than) uni- (one, single) up (higher, better)
unable
unhappy
unimportant
untidy
underage
underestimate
underground
understatement
unicycle
uniformity
unilateral
universal
update
upgrade
uphill
upmarket

See also:   Negative Prefixes

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