Learn Italian Words: some prefixoids and their use

 In Blog, Featured, Learn Italian words

The Italian vocabulary, like that of all languages, is constantly enriching. One of the most productive processes, in this sense, is composition, as it allows the language to form new Italian words that can adapt to the needs of new and articulated terminologies corresponding to the development and rapid penetration of technology in today’s world.


One of the tools that Italian uses to compose new words is the application of prefixes and prefixoids to existing words. Prefixoids are lexical elements (mainly derived from Greek, in which they are autonomous words) that can be prefixed to words of any origin, forming adjectives, nouns, and verbs. Unlike the prefix, the prefixoid has a precise and autonomous lexical meaning, easily recognizable. Here follow some examples followed by an infographic to help you visualize:


A prefix of many Latin words, it is also frequent in words of modern (and even very recent) formation. It can have the meaning of “above, which is above, which goes beyond, which exceeds” (superalcolico, supervisore) or, more frequently, have superlative value (supermercato, superlega, superuomo). Sometimes it can be alternated with the prefix iper-.


Prefixoid in many Italian compound words, including scientific ones, which means “one, made up of only one”. It can form adjectives (monocellulare, monotono) or nouns (monopattino, monorotaia, monopolio).


Prefixoid in compounds derived from Greek or modern (filosofo, filarmonico, filodrammatico, filantropo), indicates love, propensity, the tendency towards people or things; it is opposed to the Italian prefixoid anti- or, more rarely, to miso- (misantropo).


In many compound words, both derived from Greek and of modern formation, it means “home” (economia) or, more generally, “environment in which one lives” (ecologia).

The prefixoids in Italian are very numerous, given the strong neoclassical component of the Italian vocabulary. Here is a more exhaustive list: enjoy and follow our blog or Facebook page for all things related to the Italian Language and Culture!

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