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SAT Vocabulary List #1:
atypical (adj) unusual. The prefix a- often means not. In this case not typical.
amorphous (adj) shapeless. Again the prefix means not. In this case, not having shape.
anarchy (n) disorder; chaos resulting from no leadership. Yet again, the prefix means not (an- is a form of a-). The Greek root archos means leader, and so anarchy means having no leader.
Don't be fooled! Prefixes may appear similar:
anachronism (n) something that occurs out of time. The prefix ana- can mean upward, backward, or again. It does NOT mean not! Together with the Greek root meaning time, this word means backward in time or out of place chronologically.
anagram (n) a word or phrase formed using all the letters from another word or phrase. The prefix (ana-) means backward or again, together with the Greek root (gram) meaning written or drawn.
anathema (n) anything greatly detested; a ban or curse. This time the prefix (ana-) means upward, and anathema orginally meant a thing set up to the gods. Today it always means a curse, a devine punishment, or something hated and scorned.
The Latin Prefix a-, ab- or abs- means away or from:
abdicate (v) to step down from, give up a position. The king abdicated the thrown, i.e. declared that he was separating himself from that position.
abstemious (adj) moderate in use of food and drink. My uncle was abstemious, i.e. he stayed away from excessive food and drink.
abstruse (adj) difficult to understand. The professor's lecture was abstruse, i.e. it was as though his ideas were hidden away in the tons of his verbage and the average listener could not decipher them.
abscond (v) to depart secretly and hide. The accountant absconded with thousands of dollars, hiding himself away never to be seen again.
absquatulate (v) to move off hastily and secretly. The theif absquatulated into the night.
aberration (n) error; deviation from the norm. She scored 50 points in the basketball game: A statistical aberration as she averaged only 2 points per game.
More prefixes starting with a-:
archetype (n) first of its kind. The Greek prefix arche- means first, prior, or original, here taken together with the Greek root typos (model or pattern).
prototype (n) archetype. The prefix proto- is synonomous with arche-.
amphitheater (n) circular theater. The prefix amphi- means both, two, or on both sides. An amphitheater is really just two theaters placed together, so the stage is in the middle with seats all the way around.
antediluvian (adj) before the flood. The prefix ante- means before. So, before the deluge.
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