A prefix is an affix which is placed before the root of a word. Particularly in the study of languages, a prefix is also called a preformative, because it alters the form of the words to which it is affixed. For an example:
- unhappy : un is a negative or antonymic prefix.
- prefix, preview : pre is a prefix, with the sense of before
- redo, review. : re is a prefix meaning again.
- dishonest, disobey: dis is also a negative prefix, but it isn't an antonymic prefix.
- impolite, immature: im has the meaning of dis.
- inadequate, incomplete: in has the meaning of dis and im.
- atheist, anarchy : a and an have the meaning of dis, im, and in (not) and without.
The word prefix is itself made up of the stem fix (meaning attach, in this case), and the prefix pre- (meaning "before"), both of which are derived from Latin roots.
See also