Some prefixes highly emphasize roots of words to which they are attached, and are known as intensive prefixes. These prefixes can effectively be translated as “thoroughly” to highlight their intensive function. Today we will talk about the prefixes re- and de-, which can both act as intensive prefixes.
The prefix re-, which can mean “back” or “again,” can also mean “thoroughly” when it acts as an intensive. For instance, the word resplendent means “thoroughly” shining or bright. If the word were “splendent,” it would simply mean “shining;” adding the intensive prefix re- onto “splendent” transforms the root “shine” into “thoroughly” shining, or “very” bright.
Let’s take a look at a couple more examples using the intensive prefix re-. When a person is reticent, she is “thoroughly” silent because she is unwilling to share information about something. A musician’s repertoire is that list of music which he has “thoroughly” produced. And what do you do when you show a great deal of resolve? You “thoroughly” loosen or untie yourself toward the completion of a goal that you have set.
A second example of an intensive is the prefix de-. While de- can mean “off” or “from,” it can also be used as an intensive, again usefully translated as “thoroughly.” For instance, when a fruit becomes desiccated, it has become “thoroughly” dried out. When you make a declaration, you make something “thoroughly” clear so that no one can mistake your meaning. A desolate person is “thoroughly” alone or lonely, whereas a desolate place is “thoroughly” remote, that is, by itself. When you demonstrate the effectiveness of something, you “thoroughly” show it. A deluge can “thoroughly” wash or bathe the land with all the rain that comes with it. And a depraved criminal? He is evil “through and through,” or “thoroughly” evil.
Prefixes, when they act as intensives, emphasize and heighten the force of the primary meanings of words. Strive to recognize intensive prefixes, and you will “thoroughly” improve your vocabulary prowess!
- resplendent: ‘thoroughly’ shining
- reticent: ‘thoroughly’ silent
- repertoire: music ‘thoroughly’ learned
- resolve: ‘thoroughly’ loosen or untie
- desiccated: ‘thoroughly’ dried out
- declare: make ‘thoroughly’ clear
- desolate: ‘thoroughly’ alone, lonely, or remote
- demonstrate: ‘thoroughly’ show
- deluge: ‘thoroughly’ washes or bathes
- depraved: ‘thoroughly’ evil