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Using Prefixes

Circum- Words
Lesson 1. Latin Prefixes
Lesson 2. Greek Prefixes
Lesson 3. Anglo-Saxon Prefixes

A prefix is a letter or group of letters placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.
Later we will show you how knowing a handful of roots can help you figure out scores of words.
Here we will begin by teaching you a few prefixes that can open the door to more powerful words.
Here, for example, is a sampling of words that derive from the Latin prefix "circum-," meaning
around.

Circum- Words

circumambulate to walk around

circumference the outer boundary of something

circumfluent flowing around; encompassing

circumfuse to surround, as with fluid

circumjacent lying around; surrounding

circumlocution a roundabout way of speaking

circumlunar rotating about the moon

circumnavigate to sail around

circumpolar around or near one of the earth's poles

circumrotate to rotate like a wheel

circumscribe to encircle; mark off or delimit; restrict

Lesson 1. Latin Prefixes


Test 1: Applying Latin Prefixes
Test 2: Defining Words

Below are ten common Latin prefixes and their variations. Study the chart and examples. Then, to
help you remember them, complete the self-tests that follow.

Prefix Meaning Variations Examples

a-
ac-
1. ad- to, toward af- adjoin, adverb, ascribe, accede, affix, aggregate, attempt
ag-
at-

co-
2. col- commotion, cohabit, coworker, collaborate, concede,
with, together
com- con- conduct, correlate, correspond
cor-

3. de- down depress, deform

away, apart, di-


4. dis- disagree, dishonest, divert, diffuse
opposite of dif-

e-
exchange, excavate, elongate, evaporate, eccentric,
5. ex- out ec-
effluent, effuse
ef-

il-
6. in- in, into im- inscribe, inhabit, illuminate, import, impart, irradiate
ir-

ig-
il- inflexible, indecent, ignoble, illiterate, illegal, immodest,
7. in- not
im- impatient, irregular
ir-

8. pre- before premature

9. pro- forward proclaim

10. re- again, back recover, return


Test 1: Applying Latin Prefixes
Each of the following phrases contains an italicized word. Based on the meaning of its prefix,
select the closest synonym. Circle the correct response.

1. adjudicate the matter

a. sit in judgment on b. throw out c. argue d. adjust

2. an illicit affair

a. public b. external c. unlawful d. renewed

3. an important confederation

a. visit b. return c. church d. alliance

4. prolong a speech

a. shorten b. dictate c. extend d. preserve

5. an accredited school

a. second-rate b. authorized c. undesirable d. separated

6. valuable collateral
a. security b. comments c. opinions d. animals

7. ascribe the phrase to

a. write b. scrawl c. scribble d. credit

8. imbibe too freely

a. speak b. drink c. travel d. laugh

9. precursor of greater things

a. banner b. detractor c. forerunner d. hope

10. compress metal

a. help b. coat c. squeeze d. buff

Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 1 Test 1:

Test 2: Defining Words


Based on the meaning of its prefix, define each of the following words.

1. accord ______________________________________________
2. irradiate ______________________________________________

3. predestination ______________________________________________

4. reincarnation ______________________________________________

5. convolution ______________________________________________

6. invoke ______________________________________________

7. cohabit ______________________________________________

8. irrelevant ______________________________________________

9. irreducible ______________________________________________

10. excommunicate ______________________________________________

Suggested Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 1 Test 2:

Lesson 2. Greek Prefixes

Test 1: Applying Greek Prefixes


Test 2: Matching Synonyms

Below are five common Greek prefixes and their variations. Study the chart and examples. Then,
to help you remember the prefixes, complete the self-tests that follow.

Prefix Meaning Variations Examples

1. a- not, without an- atypical, asexual anarchy

2. apo- off, away apology, apostrophe

3. epi- beside, upon ep- epigraph, epidermis, epoch

4. para- beside paragraph, paraphrase

syl-
5. syn- together, with synthesis, synonym syllable, syllogism symbiosis, symphony
sym-

Test 1: Applying Greek Prefixes


Each of the following phrases contains an italicized word. Based on the meaning of its prefix,
select the closest synonym. Circle your response.

1. a new synagogue Formed from:

a. combination

b. sentence
Greek "syn-" + "-agogos," bringer, gatherer
c. house of worship

d. building

2. the true apogee Formed from:

a. limit of endurance

b. insult
Greek "apo-" + "ge," earth
c. closest point of an orbit

d. farthest point of an orbit

3. the fifth annual synod Formed from:

a. church council

b. religious holiday
Greek "syn-" + "hodos," way
c. house-cleaning

d. painting

4. the sad episode Formed from:


a. incident

b. anecdote
Greek "epi-" + "hodos," way
c. death

d. accident

5. the witty epigram Formed from:

a. television show

b. radio broadcast
Greek "epi-" + "gramma," something written
c. saying

d. song

6. guilty of apostasy Formed from:

a. murder

b. desertion
Greek "apo-" + "stasis," standing
c. an unnamed crime

d. abandonment of religious faith

7. aseptic ointment Formed from:


a. free from germs

b. effective
Greek "a-" + "septos," rotted
c. expensive

d. greasy

8. clear and effective syntax Formed from:

a. treatment

b. word arrangement
Greek "syn-" + "taxis," order
c. speech

d. magazine article

9. injured epidermis Formed from:

a. leg ligament

b. elbow
Greek "epi-" + "dermis," skin
c. skin

d. shinbone

10. a cutting epithet Formed from:


a. weapon

b. funeral oration
Greek "epi-" + "theton," placed
c. knife

d. descriptive word

Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 2 Test 1:

Test 2: Matching Synonyms


Based on your knowledge of Greek prefixes, match each of the numbered words with the closest
synonym. Write your answer in the space provided.

1. SYLLOGISM a. running beside _____


2. PARALEGAL b. climax; highest point _____
3. ANONYMOUS c. bottomless hole _____
4. ANESTHETIC d. one sent out; messenger _____
5. APOSTLE e. logical argument _____
6. PARALLEL f. doubting God's existence _____
7. APOCRYPHAL g. attorney's assistant _____
8. APOGEE h. false; spurious _____
9. AGNOSTIC i. causing loss of feeling _____
10. ABYSS j. nameless _____

Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 2 Test 2:

Lesson 3. Anglo-Saxon Prefixes

Test 1: Applying Anglo-Saxon Prefixes


Test 2: Matching Synonyms
Below are the five most common Anglo-Saxon prefixes and their variations. Study the chart and
examples. Then, to help you remember the prefixes, complete the self-tests that follow.

Prefix Meaning Examples

a- on, to, at, by ablaze, afoot

be- over, around bespeak, besiege

mis- wrong, badly mistake, misspell

over- beyond, above overreach, overawe

un- not unwilling, unethical

Test 1: Applying Anglo-Saxon Prefixes


Each of the following phrases contains an italicized word. Based on the meaning of its prefix,
select the closest synonym. Circle your response.

1. a miscarriage of justice

a. instance b. hero c. failure d. example

2. beseech movingly

a. implore b. search c. evoke d. refuse

3. walking two abreast

a. together b. side by side c. back to back d. in tandem

4. bestowed on us
a. hurled b. smashed c. dependent d. presented

5. an unfortunate misalliance

a. treaty b. conversation c. bad deal d. improper marriage

6. an overwrought patient

a. highly emotional b. extremely ill c. very restrained d. overmedicated

7. an unkempt look

a. funny b. messy c. ugly d. pretty

8. an embarrassing miscue

a. joke b. anecdote c. step d. error

9. bedaub with clay

a. sculpt b. present c. smear d. create


10. bemoan his situation

a. celebrate b. share c. lament d. hide

Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 3 Test 1:

Test 2: Matching Synonyms


Based on your knowledge of Anglo-Saxon prefixes, match each of the numbered words with the
closest synonym. Write your answer in the space provided.

1. UNFEIGNED a. conquer _____

2. MISBEGOTTEN b. right on the mark _____

3. BEGUILE c. too fervent _____

4. MISCARRIAGE d. envy; resent _____

5. BEMUSE e. sincere; genuine _____

6. MISHAP f. accident _____

7. OVERCOME g. illegitimate _____

8. BEGRUDGE h. mislead _____

9. UNERRING i. bewilder _____

10. OVERZEALOUS j. spontaneous abortion _____

Answers to Using Prefixes Lesson 3 Test 2:

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