One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not.‘unabashed’‘unacademic’‘unrepeatable’
- 1.1 The reverse of (usually with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with another special connotation)‘unselfish’‘unprepossessing’‘unworldly’
- 1.1 The reverse of (usually with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with another special connotation)
2(added to nouns) a lack of.‘unrest’‘untruth’
The prefixes un- and non- both mean ‘not’, but there is often a distinction in terms of emphasis. un- tends to be stronger and less neutral than non-: consider the differences between unacademic and non-academic, for example (his language was refreshingly unacademic; a non-academic life suits him)
Old English, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin in- and Greek a-.
1(added to verbs) denoting the reversal or cancellation of an action or state.‘untie’‘unsettle’
2(added to verbs) denoting deprivation, separation, or reduction to a lesser state.‘unmask’‘unman’
- 2.1 (added to verbs) denoting release.‘unburden’‘unhand’
- 2.1 (added to verbs) denoting release.
Old English un-, on-, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ont- and German ent-.
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