Intensive Prefixes "E-" and "Ex-"


Quick Summary

The prefixes e- and ex-, besides meaning “out,” can also act as intensive prefixes. These prefixes can effectively be translated as “thoroughly” to highlight their intensive function. For instance, the prefix e-, such as in elude, means to “thoroughly” avoid someone, whereas the intensive prefix ex- in exclaim means to “thoroughly” shout out.

The Intensive Prefix "Ex-"

Prefixes can emphasize roots of words to which they are attached; in this capacity they are known as intensive prefixes. Today we will explore the prefixes e- and ex-, which besides meaning “out” can also be translated as “thoroughly” when they act as intensives.

The prefix ex-, most commonly meaning “out,” appears in such words as exit, goes “out,” and exclude, shut “out.” Ex-, however, can also act as an intensive, such as in the word exclaim, which means to “thoroughly” shout something out. Consider the exclamation point, which “thoroughly” emphasizes something you’ve said! When you have answered a difficult question exactly, you have completed it so “thoroughly” that it is precisely right. If the answer required such accuracy, you might be exhausted, or “thoroughly” drained, from the process. If your answer was indeed correct, however, you have a right to be exhilarated, or “thoroughly” cheerful!

The prefix e-, a spelling variant of ex-, means “out” as well, such as in the words eject, or “throw out,” and emit, “send out.” However, e-, like ex-, can also act as an intensive. For instance, when you are ebullient about something, you are “thoroughly” bubbling over with enthusiasm. You might not be so enthusiastic if you were emaciated, or “thoroughly” thin. Hopefully you will be able to elude that unhealthy physical state, or “thoroughly” avoid it!

We have seen that the prefixes e- and ex-, besides meaning “out,” can also act as intensives, emphasizing the roots to which they are attached. Now that this has been elucidated, or made “thoroughly” clear, you can intensify your prefix power!

  1. exit: go ‘out’
  2. exclude: shut ‘out’
  3. exclaim: ‘thoroughly’ shout
  4. exclamation: state of ‘thoroughly’ shouting
  5. exact: ‘thoroughly’ done
  6. exhausted: ‘thoroughly’ drained
  7. exhilarated: ‘thoroughly’ cheerful or happy
  8. eject: throw ‘out’
  9. emit: send ‘out’
  10. ebullient: ‘thoroughly’ bubbling over with enthusiasm
  11. emaciated: ‘thoroughly’ thin
  12. elude: ‘thoroughly’ trick
  13. elucidate: make ‘thoroughly’ clear

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