apart, not

Quick Summary

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. A large number of English vocabulary words contain the prefix dis-, which means “apart.” Examples using this prefix include distant, disease, and disqualify. An easy way to remember that the prefix dis- means “apart” is through the word disorder, for items which are disordered are “apart” from being “ordered,” hence are not ordered or are in quite the mess.

Dis- Keeping Things Distant

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix dis- means “apart;” today we will discover many words that have the prefix dis- in them!

The Roman god Pluto was also named Dis, and luckily this god of the underworld was distant from the land above, or stood “apart” from it. What if Dis were to travel to the upper world with his three-headed dog Cerberus? Imagine how dissimilar, or “apart” from being like others that ghastly duo would be! He and Cerberus would certainly distract people, or draw them “apart” from their usual activities as they walked about town. Speaking of Cerberus, imagine if Dis were to take him to a doggie park—talk about disrupting or breaking “apart” a normal day of playing for all of those one-headed dogs! The disorder, or a state “apart” from being orderly that would ensue would be a hoot to behold. The disquiet that would be present, or a state “apart” from being quiet, would subside once Dis left for his deep home, thus pulling a disappearing act, having gone “apart” from being there, hopefully for a very long time.

Now let’s imagine that Dr. Frankenstein decides to create another monster, this time of himself. For the doctor has caught a fatal disease, which holds his physical comfort “apart” from being at ease. This condition is holding him at quite a disadvantage, keeping him “apart” from being his best. To add insult to injury, while disinterring dead bodies, or taking those bodies “apart” from being buried in the ground, he dislocated his shoulder, taking it “apart” from its usual location. Unfortunately, the hard-up doctor has distrust in anyone else to do the digging for him, or holds them “apart” from his trust. Hence, he may soon become disinterested, or take himself “apart” from interest in the whole concept of making another self and disband his medical team, which would then go “apart” to different areas of the country.

Now you will no longer feel discomfort when encountering words with the prefix dis- in them!

  1. distant: stand “apart”
  2. dissimilar: “apart” from being similar
  3. distract: draw “apart”
  4. disrupt: burst “apart”
  5. disorder: “apart” from orderliness
  6. disquiet: “apart” from quiet
  7. disappear: “apart” from being present
  8. disease: “apart” from ease
  9. disadvantage: “apart” from having an advantage
  10. disinter: to take “apart” from being in the ground
  11. dislocate: to take “apart” from the usual location
  12. distrust: “apart” from being trustworthy
  13. disinterested: “apart” from being interested
  14. disband: when a band of people go “apart” from each other
  15. discomfort: being “apart” from feeling comfortable


  • dissident

    A dissident is someone who disagrees publicly with a government, especially in a country where this is not allowed.

  • disburse

    To disburse is to pay out money, usually from a large fund that has been collected for a specific purpose.

  • disquiet

    When someone feels disquiet about a situation, they feel very worried or nervous.

  • disseminate

    To disseminate something, such as knowledge or information, is to distribute it so that it reaches a lot of people.

  • discursive

    A piece of writing is discursive if it includes a lot of information that is not relevant to the main subject.

  • disingenuous

    Someone who is disingenuous is not straightforward or is dishonest in what they say or do.

  • disparate

    Things that are disparate are clearly different from each other and belong to different groups or classes.

  • discern

    When you discern something, you notice, detect, or understand it, often after thinking about it carefully or studying it for some time.

  • indiscreet

    Someone who is indiscreet shows lack of judgment, especially because they say or do things in public that should only be said or done privately—if at all.

  • disconcert

    If something disconcerts you, it makes you feel anxious, worried, or confused.

  • dissonance

    Dissonance is an unpleasant situation of opposition in which ideas or actions are not in agreement or harmony; dissonance also refers to a harsh combination of sounds.

  • discordant

    A situation or thing that is discordant does not fit in with other things; therefore, it is disagreeable, strange, or unpleasant.

  • disaffected

    A disaffected member of a group or organization is not satisfied with it; consequently, they feel little loyalty towards it.

  • disinter

    When someone disinters a dead body, they dig it up; likewise, something disinterred is exposed or revealed to the public after having been hidden for some time.

  • discomfit

    If something discomfits you, it makes you feel embarrassed, confused, uncomfortable, or frustrated.

  • disparage

    If you disparage someone or something, you say unpleasant words that show you have no respect for that person or thing.

  • dissemble

    When people dissemble, they hide their real thoughts, feelings, or intentions.

  • disinterested

    Someone does something in a disinterested way when they have no personal involvement or attachment to the action.

  • dissension

    Dissension is a disagreement or difference of opinion among a group of people that can cause conflict.

  • disabuse

    If you disabuse someone of an idea or notion, you persuade them that the idea is in fact untrue.

  • demise

    A demise can be the death of someone or the slow end of something.

  • disarray

    When you are in a state of disarray, you are disorganized, disordered, and in a state of confusion.

  • discombobulated

    When you are discombobulated, you are confused and upset because you have been thrown into a situation that you temporarily cannot handle.

  • disconsolate

    If you are disconsolate, you are very unhappy or so sad that nothing will make you feel better.

  • discrepancy

    When there is a discrepancy between two sets of data, there is a difference or disagreement among them—despite the fact that they should be the same.

  • discrete

    Discrete objects are completely unconnected to one another, so each one is separate and individual.

  • disdain

    You show disdain towards another person when you despise what they do, or you regard them as unworthy of your notice and attention.

  • disentangle

    When you disentangle a knot or a problem, you untie the knot or get yourself out of the problem.

  • disillusion

    When you disillusion someone, you show that a belief they hold dear is untrue—thereby disheartening and disappointing them.

  • disincentive

    A disincentive to do something does not encourage you to do that thing; rather, it restrains and hinders you from doing it.

  • dismantle

    When you dismantle something, you take it apart or destroy it piece by piece.

  • disparity

    When there is a disparity between two things, they are not of equal status; therefore, they are different or unlike in some way.

  • dispel

    When you dispel a thought from your mind, you cause it to go away or disappear; when you do the same to a crowd, you cause it to scatter into different directions.

  • disposition

    Your disposition is your personality, the way you tend to react to the various events in your life, and the mood that you generally have.

  • dissuade

    When you dissuade someone, you try to discourage or prevent them from doing something.

  • distortion

    When something is subjected to distortion, it is twisted out of shape in some way.

  • indispensable

    An indispensable item is absolutely necessary or essential—it cannot be done without.

  • predispose

    If someone is predisposed to something, they are made favorable or inclined to it in advance, or they are made susceptible to something, such as a disease.

  • discriminate

    The ability to discriminate between things allows you to notice or be aware of differences.

  • disposed

    When you are disposed towards a particular action or thing, you are inclined or partial towards it.

  • disclaimer

    A disclaimer is a legal statement that declares a refusal to accept responsibility in case something bad happens when a product is used.

  • disrupt

    When you disrupt something that is happening, you interrupt, upset, or disturb it in some way.

  • dispute

    A dispute is a disagreement or argument about something.

  • disintegrate

    When something disintegrates, it crumbles, falls apart, or breaks down into separate pieces.

  • distinctive

    Distinctive qualities set people or things apart from everyone or everything else—they are what make people or things different or unique.

  • distraught

    If you are distraught about a situation, you are very upset or worried about it.

  • disport

    When people disport, they entertain or divert themselves for the sake of amusement.

  • disorder

    If a place is in disorder, it is not neat and clean; nothing is how it should be.

  • disease

    A disease is a sickness or illness, such as diabetes or cancer.

  • discussion

    A discussion is a talk that you have with one or more people.

  • discover

    When you discover something, such as a new idea or thing, you learn about it or find it for the first time.

  • displace

    When one thing displaces another, it takes its position or place and forces that other thing to leave.

  • dismiss

    When you dismiss someone, you send them away.

  • distant

    Something distant is far off or far away from something else.

  • distract

    You distract someone by drawing that person’s notice away from one thing to something else.

  • distribute

    When you distribute something, you hand it out or spread it around to a number of people.

  • dissimilar

    When one thing is dissimilar to another thing, it is not like it or is not the same as it.

  • defer

    If you defer the occurrence of something, you delay it to a later point in time.

  • disband

    cause to break up or cease to function

  • disengaged

    Not engaged; free from engagement; at leisure; free from occupation or care; vacant.

  • disheartened

    made less hopeful or enthusiastic

  • dislocate

    move out of position

  • dissociate

    To separate from fellowship or union; to disunite; to disjoin; as, to dissociate the particles of a concrete substance.

  • dissolve

    become weaker

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