Take the "Trans" Train


Quick Summary

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary. The prefix trans- and its variant tra-, which mean “across,” appear in many English vocabulary words, for example: transmit, transform, and trajectory. Consider the word translation, which is the carrying “across” from one language into another.

Today we will focus on the prefix trans- and its variant tra-, which mean “across.” Prefixes are morphemes which begin words, attaching to a word’s main part, or root, adding to the meaning of the word in some way.

The carrying “across” of people from one place to another is transportation, which can occur in many kinds of vehicles. When you transfer money from checkings to savings, you carry it “across” from one account to the other. A translucent substance allows some light to go “across” it to the other side. A transparent substance allows all light to go “across” it. And a translation? It is a going “across” from one language into another.

Imagine a transatlantic voyage, or one that goes “across” the Atlantic Ocean, made by a ship. This form of transit, or going “across” a passage, was once more common than it is now. When horrific storms came up on these long journeys, voyagers could often be transformed, their normal mode of behavior taken “across” into whole new forms of heroism and survival techniques.

A variant of the prefix trans-, tra-, also means “across.” A trajectory is the path that a thrown object travels “across” during its journey. When you traverse a country, you travel “across” it. And when you traduce someone’s character, you lead it from its current good state “across” to one of dishonor or disgrace.

Now you will be able to translate any word that you do not know with the prefix trans- in it into something having to do with going or being “across!”

  1. transportation: act of carrying ‘across’
  2. transfer: carry ‘across’
  3. translucent: of light going ‘across’
  4. transparent: of light going fully ‘across’
  5. translate: carry one language ‘across’ to another
  6. transatlantic: ‘across’ the Atlantic Ocean
  7. transit: a going ‘across’
  8. transform: to go from one shape ‘across’ to another
  9. trajectory: path thrown ‘across’
  10. traverse: turn ‘across’
  11. traduce: lead ‘across’

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