a-

views updatedJun 27 2018

a-4pref. of negation and privation, repr. Gr.a-(before a vowelAN-2)=UN-1. Occurs in (i) words repr. Gr. comps., mostly via F. or L., and in which the significance of the pref. is wholly or partially obscured, asabyss,adamant,amethyst,atom; (ii) terms of the arts and sciences, having Gr. bases, but coming mainly through late, med., or modL., asaseptic,外加的; (iii) such terms derived from other bases, asasexual; (iv) gen. terms modelled on these, asamoral,asocial.

a-

views updatedMay 18 2018

a-1reduced form of ON prep. (in late OE., but not gen. before XII); the first el. of many predicative adjs. and advs. consisting of the prep. and a sb., e.g.aback,alive,asleep,away; early ME. areafire,afoot; lateraflame,ashore. Some depend upon French, asaboard,across,around, in which the preps.à,enhave been assim. to or replaced by the Eng. prefix. From XVI combined with a vb.-stem as inadrift,astride.

a-

views updatedJun 11 2018

a-2reduced form of OF prep., as inafresh,akin,anew. Cf. †a clock(XV–XVIII), nowO'CLOCK. Not in living use since ME. In comps. with vbs. the pref.of-is repr. in e.g.athirst.

a-

views updatedJun 11 2018

a-3pref. of vbs., OE.ā-, orig.ar-,or-= OHG.ar-,ir-,ur-(G.er-), Goth.us-,ur-, meaning ‘away, out’, and hence used as an intensive, as inabide,ago,arise,ashamed.

a-

views updatedJun 11 2018

a- (an-) prefix denotingabsence of; lacking; not.