Share this entry

un- Syllabification: un-

Definition of un- in English:

prefix

1(Added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not: unabashed unacademic unrepeatable
1.1The reverse of (usually with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with another special connotation): unselfish unprepossessing unworldly
2(Added to nouns) a lack of: unrest untruth

Usage

The prefixes un- and non- both mean ‘lacking’ or ‘not,’ but there is a distinction in terms of perspective. The prefix un- tends to be stronger and less neutral than non-. Consider, for example, the differences between unacademic and nonacademic, as in his language was refreshingly unacademic; a nonacademic life suits him.

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin in- and Greek a-.

Definition of un- in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources