One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Once more; afresh; anew.‘reaccustom’‘reactivate’
- 1.1 With return to a previous state.‘revert’‘restore’
- 1.1 With return to a previous state.
2In return; mutually.‘react’‘resemble’
- 2.1 In opposition.‘repel’‘resistance’
- 2.1 In opposition.
3Behind or after.‘relic’‘remain’
- 3.1 In a withdrawn state.‘recluse’‘reticent’
- 3.2 Back and away; down.‘recede’‘relegation’
- 3.1 In a withdrawn state.
4With frequentative or intensive force.‘resound’‘redouble’
5With negative force.‘recant’‘rebuff’
In modern English, the tendency is for words formed with prefixes such as re- to be unhyphenated: reacquaint, reconsider, reshape. For the sake of clarity, however, hyphenation is sometimes favored when the root word begins with a vowel: re-elect, for instance, may be preferred as a less awkward spelling than reelect. A hyphen is often used when the word formed with the prefix would be identical in form with, but different in meaning and pronunciation from, an already existing word: re-cover (meaning ‘cover again,’ as in we decided to re-cover the dining-room chairs), as opposed to recover (meaning ‘get better in health’)
From Latin re-, red- ‘again, back’.
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