Vocabulary Basics: Latin Prefixes

This section of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com is all about understanding prefixes that come from Latin


A prefix is defined as one or more letters "affixed" to the beginning of a word that contribute to its meaning. Many prefixes in the English language come from Greek or Latin.

We can often identify the meaning of an unfamiliar word by breaking it down into component parts, determining the meanings of those parts and speculating on the full word's meaning. For example, if we did not know the meaning of "antediluvian," we could speculate, based on the fact that the Latin root "ante" means "before," and "diluvian" means "flood." In this case, "antediluvian" refers to the time before the Biblical flood of Noah's Ark fame. A less literal meaning is "extremely primitive or outmoded," says Merriam-Webster's dictionary.


Here is a set of Latin prefixes:

Latin Word Meaning English Words that Use Latin Word as a Prefix
A, ab
from, away
avert, abnegation, abstract
Ad
to
adduce, adjacent, affect, accede
Ante
before
antediluvian, anteroom
Bi
two
biped, bicycle
Circum
around
circumambient, circumference
Cum, com, con, co
with, together
combine, consort, coadjutor
Contra
against
contradict, contrast
De
from, negative, down, intensive
deplete, decry, demerit, declaim
Di, dis
asunder, away from,  negative
divert, disbelief
E, ex
from, out of
evict, excavate
Extra
beyond
extraordinary, extravagant
In
in, into, not
innate, instil, insignificant
Inter
among, between
intercollegiate, interchange
Intro, intra
into, within
introduce, intramural
Non
 negative
nonage, nondescript
Ob
against, before,  (facing), toward
obloquy, obstacle, offer
Per
through, extremely
persecute, perfervid, pursue,
pilgrim, pellucid
Post
after
postpone, postscript
Pre
before
prepay, preoccupy
Pro
before
proceed, proffer
Re
back, again
return, resound
Retro
back, backward
retroactive, retrospective
Se
apart, aside
seclude, secession
Semi
half
semiannual, semicivilized
Sub
under, less than, inferior
subscribe, suffer, subnormal, subcommittee
Super
above, extremely
superfluous, supercritical, soprano
Trans
across, through
transfer, transparent
Ultra
beyond, extremely
ultramundane, ultraconservative


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