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Un- (prefix)

Parent categories: prefix - opposition -

Related: negative - not - uncut - unnatural - unrated - uncanny - unconscious - unexpected - unnatural - unexpurgated


  • un- not, opposite, take something away --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prefixes_in_the_English_language [Oct 2004] pref.
    1. Not: unhappy.
    2. Opposite of; contrary to: unrest.

    Usage Note

    The negative prefix un- attaches chiefly to adjectives (unable, unclean, unequal, unripe, unsafe) and participles used as adjectives (unfeeling, unflinching, unfinished, unsaid), and less frequently to nouns (unbelief, unconcern, unrest). Sometimes the noun form of an adjective with the un- prefix has the prefix in-, as in inability, inequality, injustice, and instability. A few stems appear with both prefixes with distinctions of meaning. Inhuman means “brutal, monstrous,” while unhuman means “not of human form, superhuman.”·When used with adjectives, un- often has a sense distinct from that of non-. Non- picks out the set of things that are not in the category denoted by the stem to which it is attached, whereas un- picks out properties unlike those of the typical examples of the category. Thus nonmilitary personnel are those who are not members of the military, whereas someone who is unmilitary is unlike a typical soldier in dress, habits, or attitudes. --American Heritage Dictionary

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