Main definitions of un- in English

: un-1un-2

un-1

prefix

  • 1(added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not.

    ‘unabashed’
    ‘unacademic’
    ‘unrepeatable’
    1. 1.1 The reverse of (usually with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with another special connotation)
      ‘unselfish’
      ‘unprepossessing’
      ‘unworldly’
  • 2(added to nouns) a lack of.

    ‘unrest’
    ‘untruth’

Usage

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)

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin in- and Greek a-.

Pronunciation

un-

/ʌn/

Main definitions of un- in English

: un-1un-2

un-2

prefix

  • 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’
    1. 2.1 (added to verbs) denoting release.
      ‘unburden’
      ‘unhand’

Origin

Old English un-, on-, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ont- and German ent-.

Pronunciation

un-

/ʌn/