Thursday, May 6, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Prefixes, Part III

Back on the prefixes. And there are still a lot more that I won’t be looking at.
What better way to finish off my look at prefixes than by looking at the one that’s actually part of prefix? It comes from the Old French pre- and Medieval Latin pre-, which are from the classical Latin prae, before (another one). It’s from the Proto Indo European peri-, which is from the root per-, which I’m sure looks familiar to you.
Per generally means through, and is related to per the word, as both come from the classical Latin per, which means by, through, or just plain per. That word comes from the Proto Indo European per- that I mentioned earlier. The PIE per- means forward, in front of, first, stuff like that, and is part of just so many words even when it’s not being a prefix. It’s also the origin for all the words we’re looking at this week, because it’s that prevalent. Seriously, click on that link to the Etymology Online page on per- to see the massive list on the words per- is related to.
This one shouldn’t be too surprising. Pro- means forward or toward the front, before, in place of, or taking care of. It comes from the classical Latin pro, which has pretty much all those meanings to it. And of course it’s from per-. A flexible word leads to a flexible prefix.
Pur- isn’t used all that much, only showing up in a few words, like purchase, purpose, and purport. Its origins are Middle English and Anglo French, where it was what’s known as “perfective”, a kind of language form we don’t have in English anymore used to indicate a completed action. Pur- comes from the Vulgar Latin por-, which is from the classical Latin pro. So everything comes full circle.
So that’s it for prefixes. I mean, there are still a ton more, but I think we’ve covered all the big ones. Now to decide what I should do next…
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
University of Texas at Arlington
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Fordham University


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