Prefixes list

These are the most common prefixes, along with their most common meanings. Not every meaning is given here. Use a dictionary for more information. Starred (*) prefixes are listed under two or more headings.


after- happening after afterbirth, after-effects
ante- before antecedent, antenatal
ex- previous ex-teacher, ex-wife
mid- in the middle of mid-twenties, mid-term
neo- modern or new neo-Nazi, neo-colonialism
post- after postgraduate, post-war
pre- before pre-emptive, pre-war
re- again rediscover, rename
retro- backwards retrogressive, retrospection

For and against

anti- opposing antidepressant, anti-war
counter- opposing counterattack, counterproposal
pro- supporting pro-life, pro-democracy

Opposite, not

a- without or not atheist, atypical
de- the opposite of decentralize, demotivating
dis- the opposite of disagree, disprove
il/im/in/ir- not illegal, immature, inaccurate
non- not non-smoker, non-payment
un- not unfair, unlock

More or big

arch- most important arch-rival, archbishop
*extra- more than normal extra-strong, extra-large (informal)
hyper- more than usual hypersensitive, hyper-inflation
macro- big (size/scope) macroeconomics, macro-climate
mega- very large megacity, megastore
*out- bigger, better outgrown, outrun
*over- too much overweight, overcooked
super- better or bigger superhuman, supermarket
ultra- extremely ultra-modern, ultra-sensitive

Less, small, partly

micro- small (size/scope) microeconomics, microchip
part- not completely part-owner, part-financed
semi- half, partly semicircular, semi-literate
*sub- lesser substandard, subcommittee
*under- lower, not enough underdeveloped, undercooked


ill- bad, not enough ill-equipped, ill-feeling
mal- bad malfunction, malnourished
mis- bad, wrong misbehave, misinterpret


cross- across, between cross-fertilize, cross-reference
*extra- outside, beyond extramarital, extraterrestrial
inter- between international, intermarriage
intra- into, inside intravenous, intranet
*out- outside outpatient, outbuildings
*over- above, outer overhead, overcoat
*sub- below submarine, subterranean
trans- across, between transatlantic, transplant
*under- below, beneath underground, underclothes


bi- two bicycle, bilingual
di- two dioxide, diphthong
mono- single, one monogamy, monorail
multi- many, several multicoloured, multicultural
omni- all omnivore, omniscient
pan- all pan-African, pandemic
poly- more than one polygamous, polyglot
tri- three tricycle, triangle
uni- single uniform, unilateral


auto- by yourself/itself autobiography, automatic
co- together, with co-author, cooperate
col/com/con- together, with confederation, collaborate
e- Internet email, e-business
para- similar to paramedic, paramilitary