12 Common Prefixes and What They Mean

If you’ve studied the English language, then there’s a good chance that you have heard about prefixes. A prefix is a group of letters which can be added to the beginning of a word. A prefix cannot be used alone, and using one will change the meaning of the word it is attached to. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • I’m uncomfortable with speaking Italian. I need to study and practise more often. [Un- + comfortable = not comfortable]
  • The boy felt demotivated after he failed his test. He thought he would get a better grade.[de- + motivated = opposite of motivated]
  • Have you watched the new ‘Mission Impossible’ film? Tom Cruise does his own stunts![Im– + possible = not possible]

There are many prefixes in the English language, but today we’re going to take a look at 12 of the most common ones.




1.       Anti- Against Antisocial
2.       De- Opposite Demotivated
3.       Un- Not Unhappy
4.       Dis- Not, opposite of Disagree
5.       Im- Not Impolite
6.       Mid- Middle Midday
7.       Mis- Wrongly Misunderstand
8.       Over- Over Overenthusiastic
9.       Pre- Before Prehistoric
10.   Re- Again Rewrite
11.   Super- Above, beyond Superhuman
12.   Under Under Underestimate




(Source: EC)