PREFIX: 35+ Common Prefixes (with Meaning and Useful Examples)

What is a prefix? Prefixes found in the English language modify words. They have transformative qualities that can shape a word in many different ways. Some prefixes even have the power to completely subvert the meaning of the root word.


What is a Prefix?

A prefix consists of one or more letters placed at the beginning of a stem word. Prefixes provide an easy way to create new words. Adding prefixes to words recognized by the literate public makes the spelling and meanings of new words easier to understand. Once you understand common prefixes you can logically and consistently use them to create a variety of new words.

Prefix definition:

In English, a prefix is a letter/a group of letters attached to the beginning of a word to form a new word. In simple words, a prefix is a few letters put at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.

For instance, you can apply the prefix de- to negate the original word. The prefix de- means to undo something. When applied to the root word the new word’s meaning becomes opposite. For example, adding de- before value creates the word devalue. Value and devalue are terms with opposite meanings.

A prefix is a type of affix which is attached to the start of the root word. There are many different prefixes that are extremely common within the English language.

Prefix Examples

Negative Prefixes

Many different prefixes exist to negate completely or in part the base word. These prefixes along with some example words appear below.

  • anti (anti-establishment, antidote, anticlimatic)
  • contra (contraindicated, contradict)
  • a or an (amoral, atheist, anemic)
  • non (noncorporeal, nondescript, nonfiction)
  • ir/il/in (irregular, illegal, infertile)
  • un (unkept, unkempt, unamerican)

Common Prefixes

Several prefixes can be found through the English Language. Each prefix has its own meaning. Below are commonly used prefixes and example words.

  • ex (ex, extend, exhale)
  • extra (extracurricular, extra-fine,extramarital)
  • homo (Homosapien, homogenous, homosexual)
  • hetero (heterogenous, heterosexual, heterodoxy)
  • mis (misdirect, misassociate, misunderstood)
  • mid (midsummer, midnight, midway)
  • micro (microcosm, microphone, microaggression)
  • pre (preamble, prerequisite, prescreen)
  • uni (unicycle, universal, unilateral)
  • tri (triangle, tripod, tricycle)
  • super (superfood, superstar, supernatural, superimpose)

Prefix Meanings: ex; out, extra; beyond, homo; same, hetero; different, mis; incorrect, mid; middle, mico; small, and pre; before.

Prefix examples

Prefix list and prefix examples

List of common suffixes in English with examples. 


Why Learn Prefixes

Learning prefixes and their meanings help students break down vocabulary words into smaller parts. By doing this, words become easier to digest and their meanings become clearer. Also, learning prefixes helps make learning new words easier.

List of Prefixes

Learn prefix list with meanings and examples in English.

Prefix ante-

  • Meaning: Before
  • Examples: Antenatal, anteroom, antedate

Prefix anti-

  • Meaning: Against, opposing
  • Prefix examples: Antibiotic, antidepressant, antidote, antisocial

Prefix circum-

  • Meaning: Around
  • Examples: Circumstance, circumvent, circumnavigate

Prefix co-

  • Meaning: With
  • Examples: Co-worker, co-pilot, co-operation

Prefix de-

  • Meaning: Off, down, away from
  • Examples: Devalue, defrost, derail, demotivate

Learn more: Prefix de-

Prefix dis-

  • Meaning: Opposite of, not
  • Prefix examples: Disagree, disappear, disintegrate, disapprove

Explore more: Prefix dis-

Prefix em-, en-

  • Meaning: Cause to, put into
  • Examples: Embrace, encode, embed, enclose, engulf

Prefix list and prefix examples

Prefix list and prefix examples - Image 2

Prefix epi-

  • Meaning: Upon, close to, after
  • Examples: Epicentre, episcope, epidermis

Prefix ex-

  • Meaning: Former, out of
  • Examples: Ex-president, ex-boyfriend, exterminate

Prefix extra-

  • Meaning: Beyond, more than
  • Prefix examples: Extracurricular, extraordinary, extra-terrestrial

Prefix fore-

  • Meaning: Before
  • Examples: Forecast, forehead, foresee, foreword, foremost

Prefix homo-

  • Meaning: Same
  • Examples: Homosexual, homonuclear, homoplastic

Prefix hyper-

  • Meaning: Over, above
  • Examples: Hyperactive, hyperventilate

Prefix il-, im-, in-, ir-

  • Meaning: Not
  • Prefix examples: Impossible, illegal, irresponsible, indefinite

Prefix examples

Prefix list and prefix examples - Image 3

Prefix im-, in-

  • Meaning: Into
  • Examples: Insert, import, inside

Prefix infra-

  • Meaning: Beneath, below
  • Prefix examples: Infrastructure, infrared, infrasonic, infraspecific

Prefix inter-, intra-

  • Meaning: Between
  • Examples: Interact, intermediate, intergalactic, intranet, interstellar

Prefix macro-

  • Meaning: Large
  • Examples: Macroeconomics, macromolecule

Prefix micro-

  • Meaning: Small
  • Prefix examples: Microscope, microbiology, microfilm, microwave

Prefix mid-

  • Meaning: Middle
  • Examples: Midfielder, midway, midsummer

Prefix mis-

  • Meaning: Wrongly
  • Examples: Misinterpret, misfire, mistake, misunderstand

Prefix mono-

  • Meaning: One, singular
  • Examples: Monotone, monobrow, monolithic

Prefix non-

  • Meaning: Not, without
  • Examples: Nonsense, nonentity, nondescript

Prefix omni-

  • Meaning: All, every
  • Examples: Omnibus, omnivore, omnipotent

Prefix para-

  • Meaning: Beside
  • Prefix examples: Parachute, paramedic, paradox

Prefix post-

  • Meaning: After
  • Examples: Post-mortem, postpone, post-natal

Prefix pre-

Prefix pro-

  • Meaning: Foward
  • Examples: Proceed, prowar, promote, propose, progress

List of prefixes

Prefix list and prefix examples - Image 4

Prefix re-

  • Meaning: Again
  • Examples: Return, rediscover, reiterate, reunite

Prefix semi-

  • Meaning: Half
  • Prefix examples: Semicircle, semi-final, semiconscious

Prefix sub-

  • Meaning: Under
  • Examples: Submerge, submarine, sub-category, subtitle

Prefix super-

  • Meaning: Above, over
  • Examples: Superfood, superstar, supernatural, superimpose

Prefix therm-

  • Meaning: Heat
  • Examples: Thermometer, thermostat, thermodynamic

Prefix trans-

  • Meaning: Across, beyond
  • Examples: Transport, transnational, transatlantic

Prefix tri-

  • Meaning: Three
  • Examples: Triangle, tripod, tricycle

Prefix un-

  • Meaning: Not
  • Examples: Unfinished, unfriendly, undone, unknown

Prefix uni-

  • Meaning: One
  • Examples: Unicycle, universal, unilateral

Prefixes (with Meanings and Examples) | Infographics

Useful List of Prefixes in English | Image 1

Useful List of Prefixes in English

Useful Prefix List in English | Image 2

35+ Common Prefixes in English with Meaning and Examples

Prefix Video