- A prefix from Latin
dedown, from, away; as in debark, decline, decease, deduct, decamp. In words from the French it is equivalent to Latin dis-apart, away; or sometimes to de. Cf. dis-. It is negative and opposite in derange, deform, destroy, etc. It is intensive in deprave, despoil, declare, desolate, etc. …☝️ Source: The GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (view on wordnik.com)
reversal, undoingor removing. prefix …☝️ Source: Wiktionary (view on wordnik.com) Intensifying. prefix …☝️ Source: Wiktionary (view on wordnik.com)
from, off. prefix …☝️ Source: Wiktionary (view on wordnik.com)
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- active word-forming element in English and in many words inherited from French and Latin, from Latin de "down, down from, from, off; concerning" (see de), also used as a prefix in Latin usually meaning "down, off, away, from among, down from," but also "down to the bottom, totally" hence "completely" (intensive or completive), which is its sense in many English words. As a Latin prefix it also had the function of undoing or reversing a verb's action, and hence it came to be used as a pure privative -- "not, do the opposite of, undo" -- which is its primary function as a living prefix in English, as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), etc. Compare also dis-.1895, 1943
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