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Vocabulary and Prefix Help

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Updated on Sep 8, 2011

Prefix Help

In order to be able to unlock the meaning of many words in the English language, it is useful for you to understand what a prefix is. A prefix is a word part at the beginning of a word that changes or adds to the meaning of the root word in some way. By learning some common prefixes, you will be able to decipher the meaning of many words that are unfamiliar to you. After you have completed the exercises in this chapter, you will be acquainted with the meanings of some common prefixes, which will improve your reading, speaking, and listening vocabularies.

      antecedent    
      prefix: ante means before
      (adj.)
      going before in time
      The VCR was a(n) _____ to the DVD player.
      antipathy    
      prefix: anti means against
      (noun)
      revulsion, any object of strong dislike
      I have a severe _____ toward cockroaches.
      circumvent    
      prefix: circum and circ mean around
      (verb)
      to go around; to catch in a trap; to gain superiority over; to prevent from happening
      I tried to _____ any ill will between my two employees by giving them both a promotion.
      consensus    
      prefix: con means with, together
      (noun)
      agreement, especially in opinion
      The family finally reached a _____ and decided to adopt a dog from the pound.
      controversy    
      prefix: contr means against
      (noun)
      a discussion of a question in which opposing views clash
      There is a _____ in my building about whether or not to implement a flip tax.
      decimate    
      prefix: dec means ten
      (verb)
      to destroy or kill a large portion of something, to take or destroy a tenth part of something
      Humans continue to _____ the rainforest every day.
      demote    
      prefix: de means down, away from
      (verb)
      to lower in grade or position
      The company had to _____ the vice president due to an economic downturn.
      disinterested    
      prefix: dis means not, opposite of
      (adj.)
      not motivated by personal interest or selfish motives
      He is the most _____ politician running for office this term.
      euphemism    
      prefix: eu means good, well
      (noun)
      the use of a word or phrase that is considered less distasteful or offensive than another
      "Bachelorette" is a _____ for "spinster."
      exorbitant    
      prefix: ex means out of, away from
      (adj.)
      going beyond what is reasonable and proper
      The _____ cost of real estate in the big cities forces many people to move to the suburbs.
      illegible    
      prefix: il means not, opposite
      (adj.)
      not able to be read
      Because my handwriting is _____, I always type my papers.
      intermittent    
      prefix: inter means between
      (adj.)
      stopping and starting again at intervals _____ storms made for a turbulent flight.
      malevolent    
      prefix: mal means bad
      (adj.)
      having an evil disposition toward others
      After losing her job, she became _____ toward those who became successful.
      precursor    
      prefix: pre means before
      (noun)
      a forerunner, a harbinger, one who or that which goes before
      My boss's _____ left the department in shambles.
      prognosis    
      prefix: pro means before
      (noun)
      a forecast; especially in medicine
      Even though my dog is old, her _____ for recovery is excellent.
      retrospect    
      prefix: retro means back, again
      (verb)
      to think about the past
      (noun)
      looking back on or thinking about things past
      In _____, I realized that perhaps I was too harsh with her.
      subordinate    
      prefix: sub means under
      (adj.)
      inferior to or placed below another in rank, power, or importance
      (noun)    
      a person or thing of lesser power or importance than another
      (verb)    
      to treat as inferior or less important
      No one wanted to work for her because she treated those who were _____ to her without respect.
      synthesis    
      prefix: syn, sym means with or together
      (noun)
      putting of two or more things together to form a whole
      The _____ between the two elements created a poisonous mixture.
      transcend    
      prefix: trans means across
      (verb)
      to go beyond the limits of; to overstep; to exceed
      Knowing him, he _____ will this setback and still win the marathon.
      trivial    
      prefix: tri means three
      (adj.)
      of little worth or importance
      Although everyone was excited about the new development, it became clear that it was _____ and would not benefit the company in any way.

TIP

Make a list of some other words that use the same prefixes. Look them up and make flash cards!

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at: Vocabulary and Prefix Practice

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