"a-" Definition | Free English Dictionary | international-dictionary.com
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English Word:


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A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various sources. (1) It frequently signifies on or in (from an, a forms of (Anglo-Saxon) on), denoting a state, as in afoot, on foot, abed, amiss, asleep, aground, aloft, away ((Anglo-Saxon) onweg), and analogically, ablaze, atremble, etc. (2, Anglo-Saxon) of off, from, as in adown ((Anglo-Saxon) ofdüne off the dun or hill). (3, Anglo-Saxon) a- ((Gothic) us-, ur-, Germanic or German er-), usually giving an intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away, on, back, as in arise, abide, ago. (4) Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the (Anglo-Saxon) inseparable particle ge-, cognate with (Old High German) ga-, gi-, (Gothic) ga-), which, as a prefix, made no essential addition to the meaning, as in aware. (5) French à ((Latin) ad to), as in abase, achieve. (6, Latin) a, ab, abs, from, as in avert. (7) Greek insep. prefix a without, or privative, not, as in abyss, atheist; akin to (English) un-.

Note: Besides these, there are other sources from which the prefix a takes its origin.

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