Prefixes




A prefix is a letter group added in front of a root or base word that contributes to the meaning of the word.

Knowing the meanings of common prefixes helps students determine the meanings of many unfamiliar words. Students typically become familiar with some common prefixes in their vocabulary words before prefixes are taught directly. Word study with prefixes begins with common prefixes which may already be familiar, such as un- (e.g. unhappy), then progress to intermediate and advanced prefixes, including Latin and Greek roots. Word study for prefixes should include the definitions of the prefixes along with many examples of words that include the prefix.

Common Core State Standards Related to PrefixesClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Prefixes

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4.b
Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.4.b
Use frequently occurring affixes as a clue to the meaning of a word.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.3.d
Decode words with common prefixes and suffixes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.4.b
Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.a
Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4.b
Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.3.a
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.5.3.a
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

View Words at a GlanceClose

Prefix pre-: pregame, preheat, prepay, preschool, pretest, preview, predict, precaution, prehistoric, preseason

Prefix re-: rebound, recall, recycle, renew, review, restore, reverse, refund, recover, repair

Prefix un-: unable, uncertain, undress, unfair, uncover, uneven, unpack, uneasy, unknown, unattached

Prefix dis-: discover, disobey, disappoint, disappear, disable, displace, disorder, disconnect, discard, discount

Prefix mis-: misbehave, misfit, misinform, mislead, mismatch, misplace, misspell, mistreat, misjudge, misfortune

Prefix de-: dethrone, defrost, dehydrate, demote, desensitize, decrease, deodorant, deduct, descent, deactivate

Prefix anti-: antibacterial, antibody, antibiotics, antiseptic, antifreeze, antithesis, antagonist, antisocial, antiperspirant, antidote

Prefix sub-: submarine, subconscious, substandard, subside, submerge, subset, subway, subsection, subdue, subordinate

Prefix in-, im-, ir-, il-: incorrect, injustice, invisible, impossible, impatient, immature, irresponsible, irresistible, illegal, illegible

Prefix non-: nonliving, nonprofit, nonfiction, nontoxic, nonsense, nonfat, nonstop, nonexistent, nonviolent, nonstandard

Prefix inter-: interstate, intersection, international, interview, intercept, interrupt, intervene, interfere, interject, intermittent

Prefix trans-: transatlantic, transfer, transport, transmit, transparent, transition, translator, transplant, transaction, transform

Prefix pro-: proceed, propose, projected, progress, propel, promote, proclaim, prologue, pronounce, produce

Prefix en-, em-: endanger, enable, enforce, enclose, engulf, enlarge, embedded, embark, embrace, empower

Prefix ex-: export, extend, excavate, exhale, extract, explode, exclude, exterior, expand, expose

Prefix com-, con-: compile, combine, commotion, compatible, concurrent, conform, contain, consist, confer, congregate

VocabularySpellingCity.com provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to use prefixes as clues to word meaning.

Try MatchIt Definitions with the Prefix dis- list.