Lexicology and phraseology: suffixes and prefixes



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sub- prefix

1 under or below a particular level or thing



subzero temperatures

subsoil (=beneath the surface)

2 less important or powerful than someone or something, or of lower rank than someone



a sublieutenant

3 part of a bigger whole



a subsection

a subcommittee

4 not as good as other people or things



substandard housing

subnormal intelligence

5 technical almost



subtropical heat
sub- prefix (BELOW)
under or below
Winter weather brought sub-zero (= less than 0 degrees) temperatures to much of the country.

sub- prefix (NOT QUITE)
almost or nearly
subhuman
subtropical

sub- prefix (NOT EQUAL)
less important or lower in rank
a sublieutenant
a subordinate

sub- prefix (SMALLER)
being a smaller part of a larger whole
a subcontinent
a subcommittee meeting
to subdivide
sub- prefix

1 one small part of a larger thing: used with some nouns:
a subset

2 smaller or less important than someone or something: used with some nouns:
a sub-post office

3 below or under something: used with some nouns and adjectives:
subaqua diving (=diving under water)
substandard (=below average)

3a. further south: used with some nouns and adjectives:
sub-Saharan Africa
the subarctic region
sub-

Function:

prefix


Meaning:

1 : under : beneath : below ▪ subsoil ▪ subfreezing

2 a : at a lower rank or secondary level ▪ substation b : division or smaller part of ▪ subcommittee ▪ subtopic
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super-

combining form

1 (in adjectives, adverbs and nouns)

extremely; more or better than normal



super-rich

superhuman

superglue

2 (in nouns and verbs)

above; over

superstructure

superimpose
super- prefix

more, larger, greater, or more powerful



the super-rich

super-efficient

super-fit
super- prefix (MORE THAN USUAL)
larger, or more effective, or more powerful, or more successful than usual; very or more than usually:
a supercomputer
a supermodel
the super-rich
superfine stockings

super- prefix (OVER)
over; above:
a superstructure
super- prefix

more, better, or bigger than usual: used with many nouns, adjectives, and verbs:


supersonic
a new super-virus
a superhero
super-

Function:

prefix


Meaning:

1 : bigger, better, or more important than others of the same kind ▪ superhuman


2 : superior in position or rank ▪ a military superpower
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tele-

combining form

(in nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs)

1 over a long distance; far



telepathy

telescopic

2 connected with television



teletext

3 done using a telephone



telesales
tele- prefix

1 at or over a long distance



a telescope (=for seeing a long way)

telecommunications (=communicating with people a long way away)

teleshopping (=using a computer in your home to order goods)

2 for television or broadcast on television



a teleplay

3 using a telephone



telesales (=selling products to people by telephone)
tele- prefix
over a long distance, done by telephone, or on or for television
tele- prefix

involving the telephone or television: used with some nouns and adjectives:


telesales (=the activity of selling things to customers by telephoning them)
teleplay (=a play written for television)
tele-

Function:

combining form



Meaning:

1 : at or over a long distance ▪ telegram ▪ telescope ▪ telecommunications ▪ television

2 : television ▪ telecast

3 : using a telephone ▪ telemarketing


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(laught)ter
--- [not found in any of the dictionaries]

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(cafe)teria
--- [not found in any of the dictionaries]

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-th suffix

1 (in ordinal numbers)



sixth

fifteenth

hundredth

2 (in nouns) the action or process of



growth
--- [not in Longman]
--- [not in Cambridge]
--- [not in Macmillan]
--- [not in Merriam-Webster’s]
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theo- combining form

(in nouns, adjectives and adverbs)

connected with God or a god
theo- also the-

relating to God or gods:



theology (=study of religion)
--- [not in Cambridge]
--- [not in Macmillan]
--- [not in Merraim-Webster’s]
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tri-

combining form

(in nouns and adjectives) three; having three

tricycle

triangular
tri- prefix

three


trilingual (=speaking three languages)

triangle (=a shape with three sides)
tri- prefix

three


a triangle

a tripod
tri- prefix

three: used with some adjectives and nouns:


a tri-annual event (=happening every three years)
trilingual (=speaking three languages)
tri-

Function:

prefix


Meaning:

: three : having three parts ▪ triangle ▪ tricycle
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un- prefix

1 (in adjectives, adverbs and nouns)

not; the opposite of

unable

unconsciously

untruth

2 (in verbs that describe the opposite of a process)



unlock

undo
un- prefix

1 [in adjectives, adverbs, and nouns] used to show a negative, a lack, or an opposite

ᅳsynonym not

unfair

unhappy

unfortunately

uncertainty

2 [in verbs] used to show an opposite of a particular action



to undress (=to take your clothes off)

Have you unpacked yet (=taken your things out of your suitcase) ?

I heard Lila unlock the front door.
un- prefix
used to add the meaning 'not', 'lacking' or 'the opposite of' before adjectives, adverbs, verbs and nouns:
unrealistic
unhappily
unscrew
unfairness
un- prefix

used with many adjectives, adverbs, and verbs to give the opposite meaning:


unable
unhappy
uncooked
unzip
unhurriedly
un-

Pronounced:

/ˌʌn/


Function:

prefix


Meaning:

1 : not ▪ unhappy ▪ unpleasant ▪ unlawful ▪ unskilled ▪ unbreakable ▪ unwise

2 : opposite of : contrary to ▪ unethical ▪ unconstitutional ▪ ungodly ▪ unorthodox

3 : do the opposite of : reverse (a specified action) ▪ untie ▪ undress ▪ unscrew ▪ unfold

4 : remove (a specified thing) from ▪ uncork a wine bottle ▪ uncover ▪ unleash
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up- prefix

(in adjectives, verbs and related nouns) higher; upwards; towards the top of something



upland

upturned

upgrade

uphill
up- prefix

1 making something higher:



to upgrade a job (=make it higher in importance)

2 [especially in adverbs and adjectives] at or towards the top or beginning of something:



uphill

upriver (=nearer to where the river starts)

3 [especially in verbs] taking something from its place or turning it upside down:



an uprooted tree

She upended the bucket.

4 [especially in adjectives and adverbs] at or towards the higher or better part of something:



upmarket (=attracting richer people)
up- prefix

higher or improved



uphill

uplift
up-

prefix British English pronunciation: up- /ʌp/

1 in or going towards a position that is higher or further north: used with some adjectives, nouns, and adverbs

She went upstairs.

upstate New York

2 more modern or fashionable: used with some adjectives, nouns, and verbs



a computer upgrade

upmarket holiday accommodation (=expensive and of high quality)

3 happier, or more exciting: used with some adjectives, nouns, and verbs



I was uplifted by the experience.

She seems much more upbeat (=much happier).

4 moved or changed completely: used with some adjectives, nouns, and verbs



He uprooted his family and moved to Canada.
up- adverb [Merriam-Webster’s]

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-ure

suffix


(in nouns)

the action, process or result of



closure

failure
-ure suffix [in nouns]

used to make nouns that show actions or results



the closure (=closing) of the factory

exposure

failure
--- [not in Cambridge]
--- [not in Macmillan]
-ure

Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

1 : act : process ▪ exposure ▪ failure ▪ closure


2 : a group of people who do a specified job or activity ▪ legislature
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-wise

suffix


(in adjectives and adverbs)

1 in the manner or direction of



likewise

clockwise

2 (informal) concerning



Things aren't too good businesswise.
-wise

1

price-wise/time-wise etc

informal used for saying which feature of a situation you are referring to:

Time-wise we're not doing too badly.

2

crosswise/lengthwise etc

in a direction across something, along the length of something etc:

Cut the carrots lengthwise.
-wise suffix ( IN THIS WAY )

in this way or in this direction



clockwise

lengthwise

-wise suffix ( RELATING TO )

informal relating to a particular thing



What shall we do foodwise - do you fancy going out to eat?

Moneywise, of course, I'm much better off than I used to be.

What do we need to take with us clothes-wise?

We were very lucky weather-wise yesterday.
-wise

suffix British English pronunciation: -wise /waɪz/

1 speaking of, or referring to: used with many nouns, verbs, and adjectives

It was a poor show, talent-wise (=speaking of talent).

weather-wise (=referring to the weather)

2 in the direction of: used with some nouns and adjectives



lengthwise (=from one end to another)

cross-wise (=in a cross direction)
-wise

Pronounced:

/ˌwaɪz/



Function:

combining form



Meaning:

1 a : in the position or direction of ▪ crosswise [=in a direction that goes across something] ▪ lengthwise b : in the manner of ▪ moving crabwise [=moving like a crab]


2 informal : with regard to : concerningShe has made some bad choices career-wise. [=she has made some bad choices about her career] ▪ Style-wise, their music is very different from mine. [=the style of their music is very different from mine] ▪ Health-wise, I'm doing fine. [=my health is fine]
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-y suffix

1 (also -ey) (in adjectives)

full of; having the quality of



dusty

clayey

2 (in adjectives)

tending to

runny

sticky

3 (in nouns)

the action or process of

inquiry

4 (also -ie) (in nouns, showing affection)



doggy

daddy
-y suffix [in adjectives]

1 full of something or covered with something



sugary desserts (=full of sugar)

dirty hands (=covered with dirt)

a hairy chest (=covered with hair)

2 having a quality or feeling, or tending to do something



a messy room

curly hair (=hair that curls)

feeling sleepy

3 like or typical of something



a cold wintry day (=typical of winter)

his long, horsy face (=he looks like a horse)

4 fond of or interested in something



a horsy woman (=who likes riding horses)

-y suffix [in nouns]

1 also -ie

used to make a word or name less formal, and often to show that you care about them - used especially when talking to children



Where's little Johnny?

my daddy (=my father)

What a nice doggy (=dog) !

2 used to make nouns from some verbs to show an action



the expiry date (=the date when something expires)

an inquiry (=the act of inquiring about something)
-y suffix
added to nouns to form adjectives meaning like the stated thing:
cheesy
--- [not in Macmillan]
1 -y also -ey

Pronounced:

/i/


Function:

adjective suffix



Meaning:

1 a : full or having a lot of something ▪ a muddy river [=a river with a lot of mud in it] ▪ dirty hands [=hands with a lot of dirt on them] b : having the qualities of something ▪ gooey [=wet and sticky like goo] : made of or seeming to be made of something ▪ waxy c : resembling something ▪ icy [=like ice; very cold] ▪ wintry temperatures [=temperatures that are cold like winter temperatures] ▪ a homey atmosphere d : very interested in something ▪ outdoorsy [=enthusiastic about activities done outside]

2 a : tending to do something ▪ chatty [=tending to chat] : wanting or needing to do something ▪ sleepy b : causing or performing a specified action ▪ a drowsy afternoon [=an afternoon that makes you feel ready to drowse/sleep] ▪ curly hair [=hair that curls]

2 -y

Pronounced:

/i/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

: an act of doing something ▪ inquiry [=an act of inquiring]

-ie also -y



Pronounced:

/i/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

informal 1 : little one ▪ bootie ▪ birdie : dear little one ▪ sonny

2 : someone or something that is ▪ smarty ▪ biggie ▪ toughie

3 : someone belonging to ▪ townie : someone having to do with ▪ druggie


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