English Grammar Simple Guide to Prefixes

What is a prefix?

A prefix (affix) is a word, or letter(s) placed at the beginning of another word (a base word) to adjust or qualify its usage or meaning. The opposite of prefix is suffix.

List of English Prefixes

General Meaning
a(n)- not , without atonality , asexuality , amoral , anarchy
ab- away abduction , absolutism , ablution

acr(o)- high, up Acropolis

aer(o)- air aeronautics , aerodrome , aeroplane , aerodynamics
agr(o)- relating to farming agriculture

an(a)- out of anachronism

andr- man androgyny , androcentrism , android , androgen

Anglo- English or British Anglo-Irish relations, anglophile
ante- before antebellum
anthrop(o)- relating to human beings anthropology , anthropocentrism , anthropomorphic
ant(i)- against antidote , antibody , anticlockwise
aut(o)- self autonomy , autobiography , automobile , autopilot
bar(o)- atmosphere
bathy- deep Bathyscape , Bathysphere
be- completely, thoroughly; excessively; on; around; about; used to form transitive verbs
bi- two bicycle , bijection , bilingual , bicameralism , bisexuality
bi(o)- life biology , biography , biosphere , biotechnology
bibli(o)- relating to books bibliophilia , bibliography

brady- slow bradycardia

bronch(o)- relating to breathing bronchitis

cardi(o)- heart cardiovascular
cent-, centi - hundred or hundredth centenary, centimeter, centipede

chrom(o)-, chromat(o)-

chron(o)- time chronology, chronograph
circum- around circumcision, circumnavigation, circumlocution, circumference

co- together cooperative, cohabit

com-, con-, col-, cor- with, together conference , connotation , context , Congress , congregation
contr(a)-, contr(o) against, opposite contradiction , contraception , controversy
cosmology , cosmopolitan , cosmotheism
counter- against, opposite counterpoint , counterweight , Counter-Reformation

cry(o)- frost , icy cold cryogenics , cryoelectronics , cryostorage
crypt(o)- hidden cryptography , cryptozoology
cyt(o)- hollow, receptacle, cell cytoplasm , cytology

de- taking something away, the opposite decentralisation , deforestation , dehydration
dec(a)-, dek(a)- ten decamerous
deci - one tenth deciliter
dem(o)- people, nation demographics , democracy
derm(o)-, derm(a)-, dermat- skin dermatology , dermatitis
di- two , double
didact(o)- apt at teaching
dynam(o)- power , force dynamic , dynamite , dynamo
dis- reverse , opposite dissent , discovery , disambiguation
dox(o)- Doxology
dys- bad, deformed, abnormal dyspepsia , dystrophy , dysarthria
eco- house economy , ecology , ecosystem , ecotourism , ecotage
ecto(s)- outside ectoskeleton

electr(o)- electricity electrocution
embry(o)- full
encephal(o)- brain encephalitis
end(o)-, ent(o)-

enne(a)- nine enneastyle

eo- dawn, early eobacterium
ep(i)-, eph- above epitaxy


stom(o)-, stomat(o)-

ethnology , ethnolinguistics , ethnocentrism
eu- good eulogy , euthanasia , eugenics , euphemism
ex- former ex-wife, ex-president
ex(o)- outside exoskeleton
extra- very, more than usual, outside, beyond extra-thin, extra-special

extraordinary, extraterrestrial

flor(i)- relating to flowers florist
fore- before, in advance foreskin , foreshadowing
gyn- female gynaecology , gynoid
hemi- half hemimetabolous
hex(a)- six hexapod
hyper- excessive, (least to greatest in order: hypo, sub, super, hyper) hyperactive , hyperthyroidism
hyp(o)- below, (least to greatest in order: hypo, sub, super, hyper) hypodermic
in- extremely inflammable , invaluable
in-, il-, im-, ir- not infallibility , illiteracy , immoral , irrelevant
inter- between, from one to another intervention , international
intra- within, interior intramural, intravenous
kilo - thousand kilogram , kilowatt
mal- bad, badly malpractice , malnutrition
maxi- most, very, large maxi-dress
mega -, megal- million , very large megabyte , megaphone
meta- after, beyond metacarpal , metaphysics
micro - one millionth, very small microgram , microorganism , micronation
mid- in the middle of mid-term elections , Mid-Autumn Festival , Mid-Atlantic Ridge
milli - thousandth milligram , milliliter
mini- small miniskirt , miniscule
mis- bad , wrong miscarriage , misanthropy , misogyny
mon(o)- one , single monolith , monorail , monotony , monocle
multi- many multiculturalism , multilingual
non- not nonsense, non-denial denial
non- nine none, nonagon
oct(o)-, oct(a)- eight octane , octopod , octagon
oo- (" oo -oh") egg, ovum oocyte
out- more, to a greater degree to outdo, to outrun
over- more than normal, too much overpopulation , over-consumption
pent(a)- five pentagon
post- after Post-Fordism , postpartum depression , postmodernity , postmodernism
pre- before prediction , preview , precedent , prenatal care
pro- for, in favour of pro-choice, pro-life, promotion
quadr-, quart- four quadrangle , quadruplet , quartic , quartile
quin(que)- five , into five parts quinquesection
quint(i)- fifth , five quintiped
re- again, repeatedly reduction , reflection , revolution
rect(i)- proper, straight rectify, rectangle
scler(o)- hard scleroderma atherosclerosis
semi- half semi-automatic , semi-detached
sept(a)- seven heptachord
sex(i)- six sexivalent
Sino- Chinese Sino-American relations

sperm(o)-, spermat(o)-


sphygm(o)- pulso sphygmomanometer


schiz(o)-, schist(o)- split schizophrenia , schistocyte

styl(o)- pillar
sub- below, less than, under,(least to greatest in order: hypo, sub, super, hyper) subset , subsonic , subway , subtitles
super- extremely, more than, (least to greatest in order: hypo, sub, super, hyper) superhuman , Superego , supersonic
syn- along with, together, at the same time synergy , synchronicity
tach(y)-, tach(o)- fast, speed tachycardia , tachometer
tel(e)-, tel(o)- far, over a long distance telecommunications , television , telephoto lens , telodynamic
tel(o)-, tel(e)- end, complete, mature teloblast
trans- across, beyond transfer , transubstantiation , transatlantic , Trans-Siberian railway
tri- three triangle , tricolor , triptych
ultra- extremely, beyond a certain limit Ultramontanism , ultraviolet
un- not, opposite, take something away unconstitutional , undelete
uni- one , single uniform , unification
ur- first, original urtext
zoo- (" zoo -oh") relating to animals zoomorphic , zoology

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