Definitions

-orexia

Privative

[priv-uh-tiv]
A privative, named from Latin privare, "to deprive", is a particle that negates or inverts the value of the stem of the word. In Indo-European languages many privatives are prefixes; but they can also be suffixes, or more independent elements.

Privative prefixes

In English there are three primary privative prefixes, all cognate from PIE:

These all stem from a PIE syllabic nasal privative *n̥-, the zero ablaut grade of the negation *ne, i.e. "n" used as a vowel, as in some English pronunciations of "button". This is the source of the 'n' in 'an-' privative prefixed nouns deriving from the Greek, which had both. For this reason, it appears as an- before vowel, e.g. anorexia, anesthesia.

The same prefix appears in Sanskrit, also as a-, an-. In North Germanic languages, the -n- has disappeared and Old Norse has ú- (e.g. ú-dáins-akr), Danish and Norwegian have u-, whereas Swedish uses o, and Icelandic uses the etymologically related ó.

Privative suffixes

Some languages have privative suffixes; -less is an example in English, and -t(a)lan or -t(e)len is an example in Hungarian (a non-IE language).

References

See also

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