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Words often are used as roots and can be expanded in meaning by simply adding small groups of letters to the beginning and end of the word. Prefixes are just this - added to the beginning to enhance or change the meaning of a root word.

What Is a Prefix?

A prefix is a single letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a root word to create a new word with a different meaning or part of speech. They are the counterpart of a suffix, which is added to the end of a word.

How Are They Used?

Unlike suffixes where there are spelling changes, prefixes are simply added to the beginning of a word or root word in order to influence the meaning.

What Are Some Examples?

Suffix Meaning Examples
a-lacking, without, notamoral, asexual
ab-away, removed, notabsent, abstract
anti-against, opposed toantithesis, antiquated
auto-selfautopilot, autocorrect
circum-aroundcircumvent, circumlocute
co-withco-chair, cooperate
counter-opposing, contrary to, againstcounterintuitive, counterintelligence
de-reverse or changedethrone, demean
dis-reverse or removedisbar, disconnect
em-/-encause toembrace, encode
ex-away from, former, lackingexpatriate, export
extra-beyondextraordinary, extracurricular
fore-frontforehead, foreground
hyper-extremehyperactive, hypersensitive
il-notillegal, illustrious
im-notImpossible, improbable
in-notinjustice, inevitable
inter-betweeninteract, interconnect
ir-notIrregular, irrelevant
mega-very big, importantmegamind, megascore
micro-very smallmicroscope, microorganism
mid-middlemidwestern, midway
mis-incorrectly, badlymisconduct, misfire
non-notnonsense, nonstarter
over-too muchoverrated, overstimulated
out-go beyondoutdated, outran
pre-beforepreexist, precursor
pro-in favor ofprorate, productive
re-againremit, redo
semi-halfsemicircle, semifinal
sub-under, belowSubcontract, subtract
super-above, beyondsuperstar, superbowl
tele-at a distancetelephone, teleport
trans-acrosstransport, transfigure
tri-threetricycle, triangle

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