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hybrid combinations—misapply, miscarry, misguide, misjudge, misrule, misstate.
The n (ne) in 'neither' 'never', 'naught' (shortened not'), 'nor', is a limited use of the great negative root, which is Saxon and Latin also. It is not the prevailing Saxon prefix of negation.
The correlative pair off and on are used but sparingly; and the meaning is in every case sufficiently obvious.
Out and over are in much more extensive employment, being found in nouns, in adjectives, and especially in verbs. The meaning, which is very often figurative, may always be readily felt and assigned. Overlive' (compare 'survive') is found with the same sense as 'outlive'; but the meanings of compounds with the same root are usually quite distinct. These prefixes combine with classical as well as with Saxon roots.
Thorough usually exchanges the original meaning of place for the figurative sense of completeness : 'thoroughfare'; thoroughbred', 'thorough-going', 'thorough-paced'.
To in 'to-day', 'to-night', 'to-morrow', had a wider use in old English.
For the important fact of negation and opposition, our native prefix is un. Before nouns, adjectives, and participles, this syllable expresses pure contrariety: truth, untruth; wise, unwise ; unrest, unthrift, unbelief; unfair, unseemly, unbearable; unending, unbroken, unannealed. Its utility is too signal to be confined to native roots. It is used at random with classical words: undisciplined, undischarged, unappeased; uncertain, uneasy, uncivil; unconcern, unreserve.
There is a way of using this prefix as a substitute for 'pot', that is somewhat embarrassing. When we read, Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughters ', we cannot parse
was unprofaned' as a verb: there is no such verb. The ‘un' is used in place of 'not' to give a negative meaning. So 'unprovided for', 'unaccounted for’, “unrelated to', are 'not provided for', &c.: which is the only way to parse such compounds.
Un with verbs-unsay, unpack, unloose, unscrew-has the more special meaning of reversing the action of the simple verb. Brougham said, on one occasion, ‘you cannot unflog a man'. If there were a verb 'unprofane', it would mean to undo or remedy a profanation that has already taken place. “Un’ has something in common with the still more powerful prefix (of Latin origin) 'dis'.
Prefixed to classical verbs, it gives rise to many hybrids : unarm, unchain, uncoil, uncover, undress, unfix.
Under, as a preposition of place, shows its meaning plainly in 'undergrowth', 'underhand', 'undersell’.
In 'undergo', 'undertake', understand', the sense is highly figurative; the two first may be illustrated by comparison with their Latin counterparts, 'subire', ‘suscipere '.
Up is a well-narked preposition or adverb of place, and is apparent as such in its compounds, which are chiefly Saxon.
Wel, well, is used chiefly with participles or participial adjectives, and with nouns that contain the force of a verb: well-meant, well-bred, well-educated, welfare, well-being, well-wisher. It is joined with both native and classical roots.
With in' withstand', 'withdraw', is Anglo-Saxon, with the meaning against', 'back'. It is confined to a few words, and cannot be extended. • With', signifying companionship generally, is not used as a prefix, except for the compound prepositions 'within', 'without'.
The use of this survey of the properly English or native prefixes is to fasten the attention of pupils on the more important; by which means also they will better remember the less important. One great art of impressing the mind is to give relief ; an even level of details flags upon the attention. Moreover, a prefix used in scores, if not hundreds, of words, is better worth considering than one that occurs only in two or three; and a marked and emphatic meaning is more worthy of being dwelt upon than a vague or wavering signification.
The Latin Prefixes. Of these we have principally to consider such as are used by ourselves in forming new compounds. In regard to words that have descended to us as compounds, we may still pay attention to the prefixes (as well as the endings) if they give their meaning to the words. Thus 'extra' in 'extraneous ', ' dis 'in' disjunction ', 'circum ’in circumvent', .contra' in contrast', 'super' in 'supersede', 'surprise', sub' in 'submerge', 'suffix', 'suspect', have a distinct meaning, apparent in the compound. When a prefix or ending has no apparent effect on the signification of a word, we may pass it over entirely. Some words containing the prefix 'in' have scarcely any trace of its presence : ‘imbecile', 'immediate', 'immense ', 'imprint', 'improve', 'infancy’, “insolent', 'integrity', 'intense'. Compare ‘re' in 'receive', 'recommend', 'rejoice', &c. As a rule, however, the prefixes continue sensibly to manifest their meaning along with the root.
Most of the Latin prefixes, like the Saxon, are the simple prepositions, which all signify direction. They, accordingly, impart to the action of the verb some special direction-as from, to, with, in, out of, between, above, beneath, through, beyond, away, beside. There are two that from direction have come to express Time—ante 'and post—' before and ' after'. The literal meanings of all of them have, however, in the vast number of names, passed into metaphorical and secondary meanings, where we can still trace the operation of the original sense; as ' abstract', 'perceive', 'pretext', secret', 'submit''translate', 'derive', 'insinuate .
The important meaning of negation or contrariety is represented, in the Latin group, by the very energetic syllable dis, by contra, in, non,
and to some extent by ob (against), re (again, back), and a, ab, abs (away, from). The strong Saxon prefix, mis, is repeated from a Latin source (minus), but without the same intensity of meaning: as in 'mischief', 'mischance ', 'misadventure', ‘miscreant'.
The class of words with the prefix dis is large and increas
ing; there is not the smallest scruple in using it with any verb, Saxon or classical, where the meaning may require it: disabuse, disallow, disappear, disappoint, disarm, disavow, disband, disbelieve, disclaim, discolour, disconcert, discount, discredit, disembark, disentangle, disenthral, disestablish, disfigure, disgrace, dishonour, disinherit, dislodge, disown, displace, displease, disprove, disrupt, dissemble, dissociate, distrust, disunite, disuse. The action of the verb in these cases is emphatically undone or reversed, producing the opposite condition, with positive consequences. “Displease' is more serious than ‘to fail to please', 'not to please', it is positively to give pain'; disprove' rises above'unproven', and means positively to refute'. In combination with nouns and adjectives, too, the sense generally goes beyond mere separation or negation; as in discourtesy, distaste, difficulty, disagreeable, disreputable, diffident.
It is modified to di, in diminish, diverse, divest, divide, divorce, divulge, &c.; to de in defame, defer (put off), defy, delay, deluge, deploy, detach; to des in descant, descry, despatch. In most cases, the forms “de' and 'des' are due to the influence of French.
Contra (against) gives the most literal expression of negation; contradict' is to say the exact opposite of what another has said ; 'contra-indicate' (in medical language) is to indicate a contrary drug or application. For matters of truth and falsehood, for prepositions admitting affirmation or denial, the compounds of 'contra' are the most usual forms of opposition. As regards the state of belief, we say disbelieve', 'disprove’; as regards mere affirmation we say contradict', 'controvert', 'maintain the contrary'.
The form contra is not very frequent; 'contro' is seen in controvert' and its derivatives. The greater part of the compounds exhibit the French form 'counter': counteract, counterbalance, countermand, counterpart, countersign, counter-evidence.
The useful syllable in is marred by ambiguity; having two origins with different significations. 'In’, the preposition of place, will be treated of later. The other 'in',
with which we are concerned here, is the negative particle, corresponding to the English 'un ', not: inactive, incapable, incomparable, inconsolable, incorrect, incredible, indefensible, indelible, indocile, infallible, infinite, injudicious, insane; inaction, inexperience. It changes into 'il', im', 'ir', to suit or to assimilate with the adjoining letter of the root: illegal, illicit, illiterate; immortal, impartial, improvident; irregular, irreligion, irrevocable. In many words of Latin origin, the English “unʼis preferred (compare p. 233): uncertain, undue, unextended, unfamiliar, ungracious, unimpassioned, unmanageable, unofficial, unparliamentary, &c. Compare the varieties— inapt' and 'unapt', 'incapable' and 'uncapable' (Shak.), 'incertitude' and 'uncertainty', 'incivility' and 'uncivil', 'inextinguishable’ and tinguishable', 'injustice' and 'unjust', 'inequality' and 'unequal', 'immeasurable' and unmeasurable, measured'.
Non occurs more frequently in English, than in Latin, or even in French, compounds. It is joined to roots of whatever origin : nonage, nonconformist, nonentity, nonjuror, nonsuit; non-appearance, non-compliance, non-fulfilment, non-elastic (compare ' inelastic'), non-political, non-professional (compare 'unprofessional '), non-resident, non-Hellenic.
The Latin ne, like the Teutonic 'ne', is rare. The few words where it occurs were compounded before leaving Latin : nefarious, negative, negligent, negotiate, nescience, neutral.
Ob (by assimilation, oc, of, op) proceeds from the earlier meanings of towards', 'in front of', to the sense of 'opposition'. The limited number of compounds where it has the signification of ' against’ were formed in Latin ; and in a considerable proportion of these, the force of the preposition is far from distinct, being merged with the meaning of the root. The practical value of the prefix is depreciated by its not being used for new compou...ds. Examples : object, obloquy, obstacle, obstinate, obstruct, obtrude; occult, occur; offend; oppose.