prefix is something that is put before the word which changes its meaning or makes a new word.
If you can understand the meaning of the prefix, you can often work out the meaning of the word.

For example

ab – means away from, e.g., absent.
ante – means before, e.g., antenatal.
anti – means opposite or against, e.g., anti-clockwise.
auto – means self, e.g., autobiography.
bi – means two or twice, e.g., bicycle.
bio – means life, e.g., biology.
circum – means around, e.g., circumference.
co – means together, e.g., collaborate.
de – means down or away, e.g., decrease.
dis – means not or apart, e.g., disappoint.
em/en – means take in, e.g., embrace/engage.
ex – means previous or out, e.g., exterior.
extra – means beyond, e.g., extraordinary.
hyper – means over or beyond, e.g., hyperactive.
in/im/ir/il – means not, e.g., indelible, immovable, irrelevant, illogical.
mal – means bad, e.g., malfunction.
mis – means not, badly or incorrect, e.g., miscommunication.
mono – means one, e.g., monorail.
non – means not, e.g., non-smoker.
poly –   means many, e.g., polygamist.

post – means after, e.g., postpone.
pre –  means before, e.g., precede.
pro – means for/in favour of, e.g., pro-life.

re – means again, e.g., rewind.


-ology – means the science of, e.g., geology.
-ship – means position of, e.g., friendship.
-wards – means direction of, e.g., skywards.
When a suffix is used or changed, it can change the part of speech of the word.

For example
A suffix is something that is put after the word which changes its meaning or makes a new word. It is placed at the end of the word. If you can understand the meaning of the suffix, you can often work out the meaning of the word.

For example
-able – means able to be, e.g., comfortable.
-ful – means full of, e.g., beautiful.
-hood – means the state of, e.g., motherhood.
-ish – means like, e.g., childish.
-less – means without, e.g., penniless.

Suffixes used to form nouns:

-age –  courage
-ance – brilliance
-ence – obedience
-ary – dictionary
-ery – flattery
-ury – injury
-dom – kingdom
-ism – racism
-ist – strategist
-ity – charity
-ment – enjoyment
-our – humour
-sion – decision
-ssion – permission
-tion – punctuation
-ture – furniture

Suffixes used to form adjectives:

-al – vocal
-ial – partial
-ary – imaginary
-ed – deflated
-en – wooden
-ic – heroic
-ing – charming

-ly – friendly
-ous – courteous

-y – dusty

Suffixes used to form verbs:

-ate – simulate
-ed – simulated
-en – shorten

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Prefixes & Suffixes: Meaning and Examples," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,

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