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1. Not: unhappy.
2. Opposite of; contrary to: unrest.
Usage Note: There are two prefixes spelled un- in English. One has the basic meaning "not" and attaches chiefly to adjectives (unable, unclean, unequal, unripe, unsafe) and participles used as adjectives (unfeeling, unflinching, unfinished, unsaid). Less frequently, it attaches to nouns (unbelief, unconcern, unrest). Sometimes the noun form of an adjective with the un- prefix has the prefix in-, as in inability, inequality, injustice, and instability. A few stems appear with both prefixes with distinctions of meaning. Inhuman means "brutal, monstrous," while unhuman means "not of human form, superhuman." · When used with adjectives, un- often has a sense distinct from that of non-. Non- picks out the set of things that are not in the category denoted by the stem to which it is attached, whereas un- picks out properties unlike those of the typical examples of the category. Thus nonmilitary personnel are those who are not members of the military, whereas someone who is unmilitary is unlike a typical soldier in dress, habits, or attitudes. · The other prefix un- is not related, despite its common origin in Old English. It forms verbs and expresses removal, reversal, or deprivation: undress, unravel, unnerve. This un- is in fact related to the Greek prefix anti-, "against, opposite, in return," which appears in English as the prefix anti-.
1. To reverse or undo the result of a specified action: unbind.
a. To deprive of or remove a specified thing: unfrock.
b. To release, free, or remove from: unyoke.
3. Used as an intensive: unloose.
(freely used with adjectives, participles, and their derivative adverbs and nouns: less frequently used with certain other nouns) not; contrary to; opposite of: uncertain; uncomplaining; unemotionally; untidiness; unbelief; unrest; untruth.
[from Old English on-, un-; related to Gothic on-, German un-, Latin in-]
prefix forming verbs and verbal derivatives
1. denoting reversal of an action or state: uncover; untangle.
2. denoting removal from, release, or deprivation: unharness; unman; unthrone.
3. (intensifier): unloose.
[from Old English un-, on-; related to Gothic and-, German ent-, Latin ante]
Dial. one: young uns; He's a bad un.
a prefix meaning “not,” freely used as an English formative, giving negative or opposite force in adjectives and their derivative adverbs and nouns (unfair; unfairly; unfairness; unfelt; unseen; unfitting; unformed; unheard-of; un-get-at-able), and less freely used in certain other nouns (unrest; unemployment).
[Middle English un-, on-, Old English; c. Dutch on-, German un-; akin to Latin in-, Greek an-,a-. See a-6, an-1, in-3]
a prefix freely used in English to form verbs expressing a reversal of some action or state, or removal, deprivation, release, etc. (unbend; uncork; unfasten; etc.), or to intensify the force of a verb already having such a meaning (unloose).
[Middle English, Old English un-, on-; c. Dutch ont-=, German ent-; akin to Latin ante, Greek anti; compare ante-, anti-]