This subject of prefixes is beginning to take me over.  After limiting myself to two of them last month and only choosing very few examples of each, I have now discovered that there are approximately sixty Prefixes altogether, most of them Latin in origin, but quite a few Greek.  There is a nice little clump of them in a different category called ‘prepositional’ and that’s not to mention ‘suffixes’, which are the bits you add onto the ends of words.  There are forty four of them, at the last count.

I’ve decided to pick out a few of the more common Prefixes and list them, along with their meanings and an example or two, on the understanding that those of you who are interested, will discover more for yourself and those who aren’t can just skip through to the end!  Here we go:

Ante= in front of 

Antepasado = ancestor

Anti= against

Anticonceptivo = contraceptive (lit. against conception)

Bi/bis = two

Bisabuelo = great grandfather (lit. twice grandfather)

Entre = between

Entresemana = mid-week

Extra = outside

Extraordinario = extraordinary (lit. outside the ordinary)

i = negation

ireal = unreal/ilegal = illegal

menos/minus = less

menospreciar = to scorn/despise (lit. undervalue)

pos/post = after

posponer = to postpone (lit. to put after)

pre = before

preocupar = to worry  (lit. to occupy ones attention before an event)

pro = forward

progreso = progress (lit. moving forward)

re = repetition

repasar = to revise (lit. to pass by again)

sin = without

sinvergüenza = shameless (without shame)

tras = through/beyond

trastienda = back room of a shop

uni = one

uniforme = uniform (lit. one form)

There is an abundance of other examples and some of these Prefixes can have more than one meaning, so this list is really just a taster.  You may like to think about the meanings of: antidemocrático, antecedentes, bicicleta, minusválido, sinfín, trascender, revivir, proponer.  

I’ll just finish off with something different but related and that is Compound Words.  Again there are many of them, so here are just a few that I like:

Boquiabierto = open-mouthed

Nomeolvides = forget-me-not 

Agridulce = bittersweet

Aguardiente = firewater

I truly think there is enough food for thought there to keep you going for a good long time!

Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are available as e-books at where you can also obtain Jane’s “Step by Step Internet  Spanish” course.