Learning Words through Prefixes

What are Prefixes?
A prefix is added to the front of a word to change its meaning. Both prefixes and suffixes (added to the end of the word) are affixes. These are added before either simple roots or complex roots. Here are some examples of prefixes and how they operate:
Unhappy= Un (meaning not) + Happy= Not happy
Unreal= Un (meaning not) + Real= Not real
How can Prefixes be used to learn words?
You can use prefixes to learn a number of words. If you know common prefixes and their meanings, you can learn multiple words from them. How? Look at the list below which highlights some common prefixes and words based on them:
Common Prefixes and Related Words:
Prefix 1: macro
Meaning: large in size or scope
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Macrocosm: Everything that exists anywhere
  • Macro-economics: The branch of economics that studies the overall working of a national economy.
Prefix 2: mal
Meaning: badly
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Malfunction: A failure to function normally
  • Malpractice: Professional wrongdoing that results in injury or damage
  • Malady: Any unwholesome or desperate condition
  • Malign: Evil or harmful in nature or influence
Prefix 3: micro
Meaning: small in size or scope
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Microcosm: A miniature model of something
  • Micro-economics: The branch of economics that studies the economy of consumers or households or individual firms
Prefix 4: mono
Meaning: one
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Monochrome: Painting done in a range of tones of a single colour
  • Monoculture: Domain of a single culture, mindset, religion, set of tools, etc.
  • Monocracy: A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator
Prefix 5: multi
Meaning: many
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Multicultural: Of or relating to or including several cultures
  • Multifarious: Having many aspects
  • Multilateral: Having many parts or sides
Prefix 6: neo
Meaning: Recent or new
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Neo-classical: Characteristic of a revival of an earlier classical style
  • Neocolonialism: Control by a powerful country of its former colonies (or other less developed countries) by economic pressures
  • Neophyte: Any new participant in some activity
Prefix 7: pro
Meaning: in favour of
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Pro-feminist: Supports feminist principles
  • Pro-life: Advocating full legal protection of embryos and foetuses (especially opposing the legalization of induced abortions)
Prefix 8: pseudo
Meaning: false
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Pseudonym: A fictitious name used when the person performs a particular social role
  • Pseudoscience: Activity resembling science but based on fallacious assumptions
Prefix 9: retro
Meaning: backwards
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Retrogressive: Going from better to worse
  • Retrospective: Concerned with or related to the past
Prefix 10: sub
Meaning: under, beneath, part of something
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Submerse: Sink below the surface; go under or as if under water
  • Subsection: A section of a section; a part of a part; i.e., a part of something already divided
Prefix 11: fore
Meaning: Before
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Forecast: Predict in advance
  • Forewarn: Warn in advance or beforehand
  • Forestall: Keep from happening or arising; make impossible
Prefix 12: Hyper
Meaning: having too much
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Hyperactive: More active than normal
  • Hyperbole: Extravagant exaggeration
  • Hypersensitive: Having an allergy or peculiar or excessive susceptibility (especially to a specific factor)
Prefix 13: Equi
Meaning: Equal
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Equidistant: The same distance apart at every point
  • Equilateral: Having all sides or faces equal
Prefix 14: Circum
Meaning: round
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Circumscribe: Draw a line around
  • Circumlocution: A style that involves indirect ways of expressing things
  • Circumnavigate: Travel around, either by plane or ship
  • Circumvent: Surround so as to force to give up
Prefix 15: Dys
Meaning: Abnormal
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Dyslexia: Impaired ability to learn to read
  • Dysfunctional: Impaired in function; especially of a bodily system or organ
Prefix 16: Bi
Meaning: two, twice
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Bilingual: Using or knowing two languages
  • Bigamy: Having two spouses at the same time
Prefix 17: il, im, in, ir
Meaning: not
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Illogical: Lacking in correct logical relation
  • Impossible: Not possible
  • Indistinct: Not clearly defined
  • Irrational: Not consistent with or using reason
Prefix 18: a
Meaning: without
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Amoral: Lacking any sense of moral standards or principles
  • Apolitical: Politically neutral
  • Atypical: Not representative of a group, class, or type
Prefix 19: ante
Meaning:before
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Antecedent: Someone from whom have descended
  • Antedate: earlier in time; go back further
Prefix 20: Anti
Meaning: gainst, opposing
Words based on the Prefix:
  • Anti-war: Against war
  • Antidote: A remedy that stops or controls the effects of a poison
The above list highlights how you can learn multiple words from the same prefix.
Exceptions in prefixes:
There might be confusion with words like: Recover vs. Re-cover
Here, 'recover' means 'to return to a normal state' whereas 're-cover' is 'to cover again'. So, Here, 're' is not a prefix.
Recreation vs. Re-creation: Here also, 'recreation' means 'relaxing activity or rejuvenation' whereas 're-creation' is 'to create again'.
Discussion vs Disagree: Discussion means a conversation and ‘dis’ is not a prefix here whereas in disagree, ‘dis’ is a prefix.
For effective learning, you can learn words in groups, and with the help of a single prefix, you can learn multiple words.