Thoroughly Perfect "Per-!"


Quick Summary

The prefix per-, besides meaning “through,” can also act as an intensive prefix, adding emphasis to a given word’s root. An intensive prefix can be effectively translated as “thoroughly” or “very” to highlight its emphatic function. For instance, the prefix per-, such as in perfect, means to do something so “thoroughly” that nothing more can be done to it.

Thoroughly Perfect "Per-!"

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 prefix per-, which besides meaning “through” can also be translated as “thoroughly” when it acts as an intensive.

The prefix per-, most commonly meaning “through,” appears in such words as permeate, go “through” and permit, send “through.” Per-, however, can also act as an intensive, highlighting or emphasizing the meaning of root words which it precedes. For instance, if you got a perfect score on a test, you did it so “thoroughly” that it couldn’t have been done any better! Such perfection is rare, as most of the time there is an imperfection or two of some kind, making a test not “thoroughly” done.

Perhaps in the future you will search for unknown creatures, such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Imagine that one day you are out in your boat floating on Loch Ness and you perceive Nessie, “thoroughly” capturing her in your line of sight. Say you take a picture, but the image of the monster turns out to be imperceptible, or not “thoroughly” captured, and so cannot be seen very well. This may get you down at first, but if you persist, or “thoroughly” continue in your quest to photograph Nessie, your persistence may at long last pay off by getting perceptible or recognizable evidence, a picture that can be “thoroughly” seized by your mind.

After Roger Patterson took his famous film footage of Bigfoot in 1964 at Bluff Creek in California, he has ever since had to persuade skeptics that the film is real, that is, he has had to make his argument so “thoroughly” sweet that people would believe him. In fact, he has had to persevere, or be “thoroughly” strict with himself in that constant persuasion, for doubters come up every year who just don’t accept that there is a real Bigfoot in the film.

Lest you think that this podcast be perpetual or “thoroughly” going on and on, here shall end the discussion of the intensive prefix per-, which shall not ever again perplex or “thoroughly” twist you up mentally!

  1. perfect: pertaining to something “thoroughly” done
  2. perfection: condition of being “thoroughly” done
  3. imperfection: condition of not being “thoroughly” done
  4. perceive: to “thoroughly” catch something mentally
  5. imperceptible: not capable of being “thoroughly” caught mentally
  6. persist: “thoroughly” do
  7. persistence: state of “thoroughly” doing
  8. perceptible: capable of being “thoroughly” caught mentally
  9. persuade: to make “thoroughly” sweet
  10. persuasion: the act of making “thoroughly” sweet
  11. persevere: to “thoroughly” work on something until it is accomplished
  12. perpetual: of “thoroughly” lasting
  13. perplex: to be “thoroughly” twisted up mentally

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.