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(word root) not, without
Examples of words with the root an-: anhydrous
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


Variant of a-1.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


or before a consonant


not; without: anaphrodisiac.
[from Greek]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ən; when stressed æn)

indefinite article.
the form of a 1 before an initial vowel sound(an arch; an honor) and sometimes, esp. in British English, before an initial unstressed syllable beginning with a silent or weakly pronounced h: an historian.
[before 950; Middle English; Old English ān one]
usage: See a1.


(ən; when stressed æn)
the form of a2 before an initial vowel sound: 14 dollars an ounce; 55 miles an hour.
usage: See per.


or an'

(ən; when stressed æn)

'n, 'n',

1. Pron. Spelling. and.
2. Archaic. if.
[1125–75; Middle English, unstressed phonetic variant of and]


a prefix occurring orig. in loanwords from Greek, with the meanings “not,” “without,” “lacking” ( anaerobic; anhydrous; anonymous); regularly attached to words or stems beginning with a vowel or h.Compare a-6.
[< Greek]


var. of ad- before n: announce.


var. of ana- before a vowel: anion.


a suffix with the general sense “of, pertaining to, having qualities of,” occurring orig. in adjectives borrowed from Latin and formed from nouns denoting places ( Roman; urban) or persons ( Augustan), now commonly forming adjectives and nouns denoting affiliation with a place or membership in a group (Chicagoan; crustacean; Episcopalian); attached to personal names, it may additionally mean “contemporary with” (Elizabethan) or “proponent of” (Freudian). The suffix -an1 also occurs in personal nouns denoting one who engages in, practices, or works with the referent of the base word (comedian; electrician; historian). See -ian for relative distribution with that suffix. Compare -arian, -ician.
[Middle English < Latin -ānus; or replacing -ain, -en < Old French < Latin]


a suffix used in the names of organic chemical compounds, esp. polysaccharides: pentosan; xanthan.
[of uncertain orig.]


Chem. Symbol. actinon.


in the year.
[< Latin annō]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.