List of Most Commonly Used Prefixes and Suffixes With Their Meanings and Examples

Prefixes and Suffixes Eduhyme English

When you come across unfamiliar words without context, breaking those words into their parts can help you determine their meaning.

A good knowledge of prefixes and suffixes is essential to building an effective vocabulary. The more familiar you are with these fundamental word parts, the easier it will be to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

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There are dozens of prefixes and suffixes in the English language. Learning prefixes and suffixes in another language may seem like a daunting task, but the job may be easier than you think.

PREFIXES

Prefixes are syllables attached to the beginning of words to change or add to the meaning of the root word in some way. For example, the word prefix itself uses the prefix pre-, meaning before.

The following table lists the most common English language prefixes, their meanings, and examples of words with each prefix.

S.No. Prefix Meaning Examples
1 a-, an- not, without atypical, anarchy, amorphous
2 ab-, abs- from, away, off abnormal, abduct, abscond
3 ante- prior to, in front of, before antedate, antecedent, antebellum
4 ant-, anti- opposite, opposing, against antidote, antagonist, antipathy
5 bi- two, twice bisect, bilateral, bicameral
6 circum- around, about, on all sides circumference, circumnavigate, circumspect
7 co-, com-, con- with, together, jointly cooperate, community, consensus
8 contra- against, contrary, contrasting contradict, contraindication
9 counter- contrary, opposite or opposing; complementary counterclockwise, countermeasure, counterpart
10 de- do the opposite or reverse of; remove from, reduce deactivate, dethrone, detract
11 dis- away from, apart, reversal, not disperse, dismiss, disinterested
12 duo- two duo, duet, duality
13 ex- out, out of, away from expel, exclaim, exorbitant
14 in- (also il-, im- ir-) in, into, within induct, impart, inculcate
15 in- (also il-, im-, ir-) not invariable, incessant, illicit, inept, impervious
16 inter- between, among, within intervene, interact, intermittent
17 intra- within, during intramural, intravenous
18 intro- in, into, within introvert, introduction
19 mal- bad, abnormal, evil, wrong malfunction, malpractice, malign
20 mis- bad, wrong, ill; opposite or lack of misspell, miscreant, misanthrope
21 mono- one, single, alone monologue, monogamy, monocle
22 multi- many, multiple multiple, multimillionaire, multifarious
23 neo- new, recent, a new form of neologism, neonatal, neophyte
24 non- not nonconformist, nonentity, nonchalant
25 over- exceeding, surpassing, excessive overabundance, overstimulate
26 poly- many, much polytechnic, polyglot
27 post- after, subsequent, later (than), behind postpone, postpartum, postoperative
28 pre- before precaution, precede, presage
29 pro- (a) earlier, before, prior to; in front of (b) for, supporting, in behalf of (c) forward, projecting proceed, proclivity, profess
30 pseudo- false, fake pseudonym, pseudoscience
31 re- back, again recall, reconcile, rescind
32 semi- half, partly, incomplete semiannual, semiconscious
33 sub- under, beneath, below subconscious, subdue, subjugate
34 super- above, over, exceeding superhero, superficial, supercilious
35 trans- across, beyond, through transmit, translate, translucent
36 tri- three, thrice triangle, tricycle, triumvirate
37 un- not unable, uninterested, unorthodox
38 uni- one unite, uniform, unilateral

SUFFIXES

Suffixes are syllables added to the end of words to change or add to their meaning. They often change a word’s part of speech, thereby also changing how the word functions in a sentence. Suffixes tell you whether a word is a person, place, or thing (a noun); an action or state of being (a verb); or a modifier, which is a word that describes (an adjective or adverb).

The following table lists the most common English language suffixes, their meanings, and examples of words with each suffix.

Noun Endings
S.No. Suffix Meaning Examples
1 -age (a) action or process (b) house or place of (c) state, rank drainage, orphanage, marriage
2 -al action or process rehearsal, disposal, reversal
3 -an, -ian of or relating to; a person specializing in guardian, pediatrician, historian
4 -ance,-ence action or process; state of adolescence, benevolence, renaissance
5 -ancy, -ency quality or state agency, vacancy, latency
6 -ant, -ent one that performs, promotes, or causes an action; being in a specified state or condition disinfectant, dissident, miscreant
7 -ary thing belonging to or connected with adversary, dignitary, library
8 -cide killer, killing suicide, pesticide, homicide
9 -cy action or practice; state or quality of democracy, legitimacy, supremacy
10 -er, -or one that is, does, or performs builder, foreigner, sensor
11 -ion, -tion act or process; state or condition attraction, persecution, denunciation
12 -ism act, practice, or process; state or doctrine of criticism, anachronism, imperialism
13 -ist one who (performs, makes, produces, believes, etc.) anarchist, feminist, imperialist
14 -ity quality, state, or degree clarity, amity, veracity
15 -ment action or process; result, object, means, or agent of an action or process entertainment, embankment, amazement
16 -ness state, condition, quality or degree happiness, readiness, goodness
17 -ology doctrine, theory, or science; oral or written expression biology, theology, eulogy
18 -or condition, activity candor, valor, succor
19 -sis process or action diagnosis, dialysis, metamorphosis
20 -ure act or process; office or function exposure, legislature, censure
21 -y state, condition, quality; activity or place of business laundry, empathy, anarchy
Adjective Endings
S.No. Suffix Meaning Examples
1 -able, -ible capable or worthy of; tending or liable to flammable, culpable, inscrutable
2 -al, -ial, -ical having the quality of; of, relating to, or characterized by educational, peripheral, ephemeral
3 -an, -ian one who is or does; related to, characteristic of human, American, agrarian
4 -ant, -ent performing (a specific action) or being (in a specified condition) important, incessant, preeminent
5 -ful full of; having the qualities of; tending or liable to helpful, peaceful, wistful
6 -ic pertaining or relating to; having the quality of fantastic, chronic, archaic
7 -ile tending to or capable of fragile, futile, servile
8 -ish having the quality of Swedish, bookish, squeamish
9 -ive performing or tending towards (an action); having the nature of sensitive, cooperative, pensive
10 -less without, lacking; unable to act or be acted on (in a specified way) endless, fearless, listless
11 -ous, -ose full of, having the qualities of, relating to adventurous, glorious, egregious
12 -y characterized by, full of; tending or inclined to sleepy, cursory, desultory
Verb Endings
S.No. Suffix Meaning Examples
1 -ate to make, to cause to be or become violate, tolerate, exacerbate, emanate
2 -en to cause to be or have; to come to be or have quicken, lengthen, frighten
3 -ify, -fy to make, form into beautify, electrify, rectify
4 -ize to cause to be or become; to bring about colonize, plagiarize, synchronize

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