36 Spanish Prefixes That Will Increase Your Vocabulary Times 100!
Is it really possible to increase your vocabulary 100 times in such a simple way, you wonder? Today is your lucky day—thanks to these Spanish prefixes, the answer is yes!
Although studying grammar lacks luster and excitement at times, it’s hard to deny the charm and utility of the mighty little prefix. Tiny it is, while trivial it is not. By learning these compacted half-words, you will add thousands of new words to your current repertoire of vocabulary. In this blog post, we will see how prefixes attach to nouns, verbs, and adverbs. What’s more, you’ll see how easy it is to add a prefijo to a Spanish verb to create more effective communication.
Without having to learn additional conjugations, it’s simply a matter of hooking the prefijo to the beginning of the verbs you already know.
What is a Prefix, Exactly?
A prefix is an affix that joins to the beginning of another word. Depending on the prefix, it can slightly or significantly alter the meaning of a word. For example, the English prefix “un-” changes a word into its opposite, as from “do” to “undo,” altering its meaning entirely.
Contrarily, the prefix “sub-” doesn’t change meaning so much as it provides specificity, as seen in the difference between “title” and “subtitle.” Additionally, it’s important to note that prefixes differ from suffixes, which join to the end of a word.
What Prefixes Can Do For You
It’s no secret that mastering Spanish conjugations is one of the most difficult aspects of becoming fluent. In order to increase your proficiency in the language without going completely mad, you can take advantage of what you already know! Try tacking a prefix or two onto some of your go-to Spanish words. To help you do so, we’ve compiled a list of 36 common Spanish prefixes that will skyrocket your fluency to the next level!
By utilizing Spanish prefijos, you will:
- Understand new words that you read or hear in the future.
- Be able to create new words by combining a prefix with a base word that you already know.
- Convey information much more efficiently by using precise words.
- Master new verbs quickly since you don’t have to worry about memorizing new conjugations.
- Gain tools to improve language comprehension across many languages that use these greek and latin roots.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
36 Common Spanish Prefixes
Meaning: to cause something
Examples: acallar (to make quiet), asemejar (to look like), atraer (to bring closer), apasionar (to make passionate), adoctrinar (to indoctrinate), abatir (to knock down)
Examples: anteponer (to put something before), antemano (beforehand), anteayer (day before yesterday), antebrazo (forearm), antepecho (window sill), antepuerta (outer harbor), antepasado (ancestor)
Examples: automedicarse (self-medicate), autoconvencerse (to convince oneself of something), autoaceptación (self-acceptance), autoaprendizaje (self-study), autodisciplina (self-discipline), autogestión (self-management), automóvil (automobile)
Examples: malacostumbrar (to spoil), malpensar (to think badly of), maldecir (to curse, to speak badly of), maltratar (to mistreat), malentender (to misunderstand), malvivir (to live badly), malagradecido (ungrateful)
Prefix: bien-, ben-
Examples: bienhablado (well-spoken), bienaventurado (blessed), bienquerer (to be fond of), bienquistar (to reconcile), bienvivir (to lead a decent life), bienvenido (welcome), bendecir (to bless), beneficiar (to benefit), benigna (benign)
Meaning: undo, diminish
Examples: Deshacer (to undo), desplegar (to unfold), descuidar (to neglect), desanimar (to discourage), descomponer (to decompose), desaparecer (to disappear), desdecirse (to go back on one’s word), desacatar (to disobey), desconfiar (to distrust), desabrochar (to unbutton)
Examples: disentir (to disagree), difamar (to slander), discontinuar (to discontinue), disculpar (to forgive), disociar (to dissociate), dislocar (to distort), disconformidad (disagreement), discapacidad (disability)
Examples: preocupar (to worry), prejuzgar (to prejudge), prefijar (to fix in advance), prever (to foresee), predecir (to predict), presuponer (to presume), preparar (to prepare), pretender (to attempt), predestinación (predestination), prefijo (prefix), prehistoria (prehistory), preaviso (notice)
Meaning: with, together
Examples: convivir (to live together), contratar (to hire), convenir (to be convenient), contener (contain), conjuntar (to coordinate), conjugar (conjugate), congraciar (to win over), connotar (to suggest), contener (to contain), convalidar (to recognize)
Meaning: with, together
Examples: componer (to compose), comparar (to compare), combinar (to combine), compartir (to share), compilar (to compile), complot (conspiracy)
Meaning: with, together
Examples: coincidir (to coincide), coludar (to collude), corresponder (to correspond), colaborar (to collaborate), cooperar (to cooperate), coordinar (to coordinate)
Meaning: in, within
Examples: envolver (to wrap), enredar (to snare), enterrar (to bury), enamorar (to fall in love), enloquecer (to make crazy), entristecer (to make sad), entonar (to liven up), ennegrecer (to blacken), engrasar (to lubricate)
Meaning: between, among
Examples: entretener (to entertain), entreabrir (to half-open), entrever (to see signs of something), entremeter (to place among), entrecruzar (to interweave), entrevista (interview), entretanto (meanwhile), entreabierto (half-open)
Meaning: out of, former, outside
Examples: extraer (to extract), exportar (to export), exprimir (to squeeze out), extender (to extend), exiliar (to exile), excavar (to dig)
Meaning: inside, among, between
Examples: intervenir (to intervene), interactuar (to interact), interpretar (interpret), interponer (to interject), intercomunicar (to link two objects), interacción (interaction), interrumpir (to interrupt), interjección (interjection), intercomunicador (intercom)
Meaning: again, with intensity
Examples: renacer (to be born again), repasar (to review), reunir (to meet, to reunite), reforzar (to reinforce), reiterar (to reiterate), rehacer (to redo), reiniciar (to restart), renegar (to strongly deny), rebajar (to reduce/lower), reajustar (to rearrange), recargar (to recharge), rechazar (to reject), rechinar (to creak), recortar (to cut off), regañar (to scold)
Examples: retroceder (to back up), retrotraer (to cast one’s mind to the past), retroactivo (retroactive), retrógrado (old-fashioned), retrovisor (rearview mirror), retroalimentar (to give feedback)
Meaning: over, excessive, extravagant
Examples: sobrepasar (to overpass), sobresalir (to stand out), sobrevivir (to survive), sobrecargar (to overload), sobrecogerse (to overwhelm), sobredosis (overdose)
Examples: subrayar (to underline), subestimar (to underestimate), subtitular (to subtitle), subyacer (to underlie/to be hidden under), subsuelo (subsoil), subyacer (to underlie), subsección (subsection)
Examples: contradecir (to contradict), contrarrestar (to counteract, to resist), contraatacar (to counterattack), contraponer (to counter, to be against), contrastar (to make opposite), contrapeso (counterweight), ir contrarreloj (to work against the clock)
Examples: anticuerpo (antibody), antimateria (antimatter), anticoncepción (contraception)
Meaning: one, whole
Examples: unir (to unite, to come together), unificar (to join, to unify), uniformar (to standardize, to make uniform), unificación (unification), unilateral (one-sided), unisexo (unisex)
Examples: equivaler (to be equal to), equiparar (to equate, to consider equal), equilibrar (to balance), equilibrarse (to obtain balance)
Prefix: bi- (also bis- and biz-)
Examples: bicicleta (bicycle), bicentenario (bicentennial), bilingüe (bilingual), bisemenal (twice a week), bisabuelo (great grandfather), biznieto (great grandchild)
Examples: centímetro (centimeter), centenar (group of 100)
Examples: homónimo (homonym), homólogo (equivalent), homogeneizar (to homogenize)
Examples: incapaz (incapable), inaudible (inaudible), inconformista (nonconformist)
Note! The prefix in- changes to im- if followed by b, or p
Examples: imposible (impossible), imbatible (unbeatable), impago (non-payment), impar (odd), imborrable (unforgettable), impredecible (unpredictable), imperecedero (everlasting), imparable (unstoppable), impúdico (indecent)
Examples: monótono (monotonous), monopolio (monopoly), monocarril (monorail)
Meaning: together, with, for
Examples: paramédico (paramedic), paramilitar (paramilitary), paranormal (paranormal)
Examples: polígloto (multilingual person), politeísta (polytheistic), poligamia (polygamy)
Meaning: in favor of, to move forward
Examples: proponer (to propose), pronombre (pronoun), prometer (to promise), promover (to promote)
Meaning: medium, half
Examples: semidifunto (half-dead), semifinalista (semifinalist), semicírculo (semicircle)
Prefix: seudo-, pseudo-
Examples: seudónimo (pseudonym), pseudociencia (pseudoscience)
Examples: supermercado (supermarket), superhombre (superman), supercarburante (high-grade fuel)
Meaning: at a distance
Examples: teléfono (telephone), telecontrol (remote control), telescopio (telescope)
Prefix: trans-, tras-
Meaning: to the other side, through
Examples: transportar (to transport), transbordar (to change transport), trasladar (to transfer), traspasar (to pass through)
Practice Your Spanish Prefixes!
After you’ve studied this useful list of Spanish prefixes, we hope you take advantage of the free class we offer at HSA for you to practice with a native speaker. Sign up today to see how much your Spanish proficiency has grown thanks to prefixes. ¡Hazlo ya!
Want to Learn More Spanish for Beginners? Check These Out!
- Dejar vs Salir in Spanish (Plus: Parar, Quedar, and Permitir)
- 38 Regular -IR and -ER Verbs in Spanish You Can Master Today
- ‘Haber De’ vs ‘Haber Que’ in Spanish: What’s the Difference?
- A Simple Guide to Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
- What Does ‘Mande’ Mean in Spanish?
- A Massive List of Spanish Adjectives and How To Use Them
- What are Spanish ‘Go Verbs’?
- 28 Spanish Suffixes To Boost Your Fluency to Super-Human Status
- The Creepy-Crawly Guide to Insects in Spanish: Free Printables and More! - November 28, 2022
- Ordinal Numbers in Spanish - November 17, 2022
- What’s in a Name? The Origin and Meaning of Spanish Surnames - November 1, 2022