un-

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

PIE word
*ne

From Middle English un-, from Old English un-, from Proto-West Germanic *un-, from Proto-Germanic *un-, from Proto-Indo-European *n̥-. Cognate with Scots un-, on- (un-), North Frisian ün-, Saterland Frisian uun-, West Frisian ûn-, on-, Dutch on-, Low German un-, on-, German un-, Danish u-, Swedish o-, Norwegian u-, Icelandic ó-. More distant cognate with Latin in-, Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-) (whence English a-, modern Greek α- (a-)) and Sanskrit अ- (a-).

Doublet of in- and a-.

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. (added to adjectives or past participles) not
    un- + ‎educated → ‎uneducated (not educated)
  2. (added to nouns) lack of
    un- + ‎conformity → ‎unconformity (lack of conformity)
  3. (added to nouns) contrary to traditional norms; unconventional
    un- + ‎conference → ‎unconference
Usage notes[edit]
  • Some words formed in this way may also have counterparts using in- or non-.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Additionally, almost all of the unsorted terms in the following category belong to this sense:

Translations[edit]

NOTE: Words using the prefix un- do not necessarily use the prefixes given here when translated. See individual words for more accurate translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

PIE word
*h₂énti

From Middle English on-, from Old English ond-, and- (against, facing, toward; in return, back, without), from Proto-West Germanic *anda-, from Proto-Germanic *anda-, *andi- (against), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂énti (across, forth, forward, ahead), from *h₂énts (end, limit, forehead). More at and-.

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. (added to verbs) the inverse of a specified action
    un- + ‎dress → ‎undress (to take one's clothes off)
    un- + ‎lock → ‎unlock (to undo the locking of)
    • 1996, “Un-Break My Heart”, in Secrets, performed by Toni Braxton:
      Un-cry these tears I cried so many nights
      Un-break my heart
  2. (added to nouns to form verbs) deprive of, release from, free from, remove from, extract from
    un- + ‎cage → ‎uncage (to release from a cage)
    un- + ‎tangle → ‎untangle (to remove the tangling of)
  3. (rare) intensifying a verb that already suggests opposition or removal
    un- + ‎decipher → ‎undecipher
    un- + ‎thaw → ‎unthaw
Usage notes[edit]
  • Only certain verbs can take un- to form a new word with the opposite meaning. In particular, verbs that describe an irreversible action produce words often considered nonsense, e.g. unkill, unspend, unlose, unring. These words may nevertheless be in occasional use for humorous, ironic or rhetorical effect.
  • Although this prefix and Etymology 1 are homonymous and semantically similar (both relating to negation), they generally do not collide as they apply to different parts of speech. Ambiguity can however be caused when used with other derivational affixes; for instance unlockable can be parsed as either unlock -able (possible to unlock) or un- lockable (impossible to lock). The latter sense may be able to be expressed unambiguously by using non- instead (non-lockable).
    • It is possible for a word to contain both prefixes, e.g. unundoable, but this is generally avoided due to being clumsy or unclear.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

NOTE: Words using the prefix un- do not necessarily use the prefixes given here when translated. See individual words for more accurate translations.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Latin ūnus.

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. Used for the digit one to form temporary names of elements whose existence has been predicted, and which have not yet been given a trivial name.
    un- (1) + ‎bi- (2) + ‎un- (1) + ‎-ium (element suffix) → ‎unbiunium (element 121)
  2. Used to form large numbers as the first in the sequence.
    un- + ‎decillion (1033) → ‎undecillion (1036)
    un- + ‎vigintillion (1063) → ‎unvigintillion (1066)
Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle High German un-, from Old High German un-, from Proto-West Germanic *un-, from Proto-Germanic *un-, from Proto-Indo-European *n̥-.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ʊn/, [ʔʊn]
    • IPA(key): /ʊŋ/ (before /k/, /ɡ/; substandard, but common)
    • IPA(key): /ʊm/ (before /p/, /b/; nonstandard, slightly less common; causes merger with um-)
  • In derivatives, the prefix usually carries the stress, though there are exceptions to this.

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. un- (denoting absence, a lack of; violative of; contrary to)
  2. grave; bad; horrifying
    un- + ‎Ding (thing) → ‎Unding (something unacceptable)
    un- + ‎Fall (case, situation) → ‎Unfall (accident)
    un- + ‎Mensch (human being) → ‎Unmensch (brute, barbarian)
    un- + ‎Tier (animal) → ‎Untier (beast, monster)
    un- + ‎Wetter (weather) → ‎Unwetter (storm, severe weather)

Derived terms[edit]

Gothic[edit]

Romanization[edit]

un-

  1. Romanization of 𐌿𐌽-

Luxembourgish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Compare German an-, Dutch aan-, English on-.

Pronunciation[edit]

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. prefixed form of un (at, on)
    1. at, to, toward
    2. on, up
    3. used to make certain intransitive verbs transitive
      léien (to tell a lie) + ‎un- → ‎uléien (to lie to someone)

Usage notes[edit]

  • The prefix is contracted to u- before non-alveolar consonants.

Derived terms[edit]

Manx[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From un (one, single).

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. uni-, mono-, one

Derived terms[edit]

Old English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Proto-West Germanic *un-, from Proto-Germanic *un-, from Proto-Indo-European *n̥-, a prefix use of the particle *ne (not). Cognate with Old Frisian un-, Old Saxon un-, Old Dutch un-, Old High German un-, Old Norse ó-, Gothic 𐌿𐌽- (un-). The Indo-European root is also the source of Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-), Latin in-, and Old Irish in-.

Pronunciation[edit]

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. negation or absence of: un-, non- (added to nouns and adjectives)
    un- + ‎dēadlīċ (mortal) → ‎undēadlīċ (immortal)
    un- + ‎dēop (deep) → ‎undēop (shallow)
    un- + ‎dīere (expensive) → ‎undīere (cheap)
    un- + ‎druncen (drunk) → ‎undruncen (sober)
    un- + ‎fæġer (beautiful) → ‎unfæġer (ugly)
    un- + ‎ġewǣpnod (armed) → ‎unġewǣpnod (unarmed)
    un- + ‎nytt (useful) → ‎unnytt (useless)
    un- + ‎sċyldiġ (guilty) → ‎unsċyldiġ (innocent)
    un- + ‎rīpe (mature) → ‎unrīpe (immature)
    un- + ‎wita (knower) → ‎unwita (idiot)
  2. bad (added to nouns to denote a pejorative sense; compare mis-, mal-)
    un- + ‎dǣd (action) → ‎undǣd (crime)
    un- + ‎hlīsa (fame) → ‎unhlīsa (infamy)
    un- + ‎lǣċe (doctor) → ‎unlǣċe (quack)
    un- + ‎lyft (air) → ‎unlyft (“malaria,” lit. “bad air”)
    un- + ‎mann (person) → ‎unmann (thug)
    un- + ‎rǣd (advice) → ‎unrǣd (bad advice)
    un- + ‎stenċ (smell) → ‎unstenċ (stench)
    un- + ‎swefn (dream) → ‎unswefn (bad dream)
    un- + ‎tīma (time) → ‎untīma (wrong time)
    un- + ‎þēaw (habit) → ‎unþēaw (vice)
    un- + ‎weder (weather) → ‎unweder (bad weather)
Synonyms[edit]
Descendants[edit]
  • Middle English: un-

Etymology 2[edit]

Originally an alternative form of on-, from Proto-Germanic *and-. Cognate with Old Frisian und-, Old Saxon ant-, Old High German ant- (German ent-).

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. forms verbs from verbs, with an opposite or reversive sense
Derived terms[edit]

Old High German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-West Germanic *un-, from Proto-Germanic *un-, from Proto-Indo-European *n̥-, a prefix use of the particle *ne (not). The Indo-European root is also the source of Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-), Latin in-, and Old Irish in-.

Prefix[edit]

un-

  1. un-; prefix of negation, absence or contrariness

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Middle High German: un-