Definition of prefix in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprēˌfiks/


1A word, letter, or number placed before another: add the prefix 83 to the extension number
More example sentences
  • Originally christened, with admirable simplicity, the Station Hotel, the royal prefix was added after Queen Victoria blessed the building with her presence.
  • It received its royal prefix in 1917 after members used their own cars as ambulances to transport wounded soldiers and the clubhouse was used to treat the injured.
  • Queen Victoria loved the sulfureous saline water so much she gave the town a royal prefix.
1.1An element placed at the beginning of a word to adjust or qualify its meaning, e.g., ex-, non-, re- or (in some languages) as an inflection.
Example sentences
  • As such, one imagines that the southern Nigerian Ur-linguist, confronted with Indo-European languages, would see prefixes and suffixes as beside-the-point accidents just as we see tone.
  • As an aside, telethon is one of those odd blends in which two combining forms, prefix and suffix, have been borrowed from separate words and jammed together, extinguishing any root word.
  • Terms like megastore or hypertext are also called compounds, because they are combinations of free-standing words with prefixes or suffixes.
1.2A title placed before a name, e.g., Mr.
Example sentences
  • Interestingly, both candidates had doctoral prefixes to their names.
  • When used as a prefix to someone's name, it implies an obvious loathing or contempt of that person.
  • Etiquette would probably have required me to use some sort of respectful prefix before their names.


[with object]
1Add (something) at the beginning as a prefix or introduction: a preface is prefixed to the book
More example sentences
  • Similar advertisements are prefixed to plays by David Garrick, Isaac Bickerstaffe, Hannah More, Elizabeth Griffith, Elizabeth Inchbald, Frederick Reynolds, and many others.
  • A short autobiography is prefixed to the 1827 edition of Juvenal.
  • Abdul is prefixed to one of the 99 names of God in the Quran which identify His various attributes, which gives us Abdul Rahim, Abdul Rahman, Abdul Karim, Abdul Latif, Abdul Qadir, and so on.
1.1Add a prefix or introduction to (something): all three-digit numbers will now be prefixed by 580
More example sentences
  • Many of the clan names are prefixed by ‘Mac,’ meaning ‘son of.’
  • If the server or client fails for some other reason, you'll receive a log message prefixed by ERROR or FATAL briefly describing the problem.
  • It's just another type of variable, and all variables are prefixed by the dollar sign.



Pronunciation: /ˌprēfikˈsāSHən/
Example sentences
  • I also treat the asymmetry in negative prefixation (unhappy vs. * unsad, unkind vs. * uncruel) as a similar phenomenon.
  • Though increasingly archaic, a prefixation to verbs ending in ing is a well-known Midland feature: She went a-visiting yesterday; They were a-coming across the bridge.
  • English speakers, I suspect, would not in general conceptualize never as being derived through prefixation from ever, in the way in which books is derived through suffixation from book.


Mid 16th century (as a verb): from Old French prefixer, from Latin praefixus 'fixed in front', from the verb praefigere, from prae 'before' + figere 'to fix'. The noun is from modern Latin praefixum, neuter (used as a noun) of praefixus, and dates from the mid 17th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·fix

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