Quick Summary

The prefix pro- primarily means “forward” but can also mean “for.” Some words that the prefix pro- gave rise to are promise, pro, and promote. When you, for instance, make progress, you are stepping “forward,” whereas if you give the pros in an argument, you are speaking “for” something by stating its advantages.

Propel Vocab Forward with Pro

The English prefix pro- primarily means “forward,” but can also mean “for.” You’ll be a pro on the prefix pro- after this rootcast.

Prolific are the uses of the English prefix pro- which means “forward.” For instance, when you have made good progress on completing something, you have stepped “forward” on it. When you make a promise, you send “forward” your good intentions to do something. And when you tend to procrastinate, you keep on putting things “forward” into tomorrow, thereby not getting them done.

Pretend that you have created a new rocket propellant, or that fuel which pushes a rocket “forward” through space. This new product, or an item which a company has led “forward” by creating it, could be a big hit in the aerospace industry. To make it a hit, however, it’s got to be promoted, or its visibility moved “forward,” to those who would be interested in purchasing it.

The prefix pro- can also mean “for.” In a sense, when you are “for” something, you push it “forward” in your column of likes. In the phrase “pro and con,” those people who are pro speak “for” something. A pronoun, words such as “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they,” stands in the place of or “for” a noun; for instance, the pronoun “I” stands for the speaker of this professional rootcast! And people who are pro-Apple are “for” Apple products, such as iPads, iPods, iMacs, etc.

There are two heavily used Latin phrases that have come into English which use the word pro. A lawyer who does pro bono work does free volunteer legal work “for” the common good. A quid pro quo arrangement is a this “for” that situation, or a tit “for” tat; in other words, you do something “for” me, and I’ll do something “for” you.

Now that you are professionals when it comes to recognizing that the prefix pro- means “forward” or “for,” I no longer need to provide any more examples “for” you!

  1. progress: step ‘forward’
  2. promise: send an intention ‘forward’
  3. procrastinate: put off or ‘forward’ into tomorrow
  4. propellant: fuel which pushes a vehicle ‘forward’
  5. product: that which is led ‘forward’ by a company to sell
  6. promote: move ‘forward’
  7. pro and con: ‘for’ and against
  8. pronoun: part of speech which stands in place of or ‘for’ a noun
  9. pro-Apple: ‘for’ Apple products
  10. pro bono: ‘for’ the common good
  11. quid pro quo: this ‘for’ that
  12. professional: one who has put ‘forth’ knowledge or advanced skills to the public
  13. pro: short for ‘professional’


  • progeny

    Progeny are children or descendants.

  • protuberance

    A protuberance is an outgrowth, lump, or swelling of some kind.

  • propensity

    A propensity is a natural tendency towards a particular behavior.

  • prodigal

    Someone who behaves in a prodigal way spends a lot of money and/or time carelessly and wastefully with no concern for the future.

  • proclivity

    A proclivity is the tendency to behave in a particular way or to like a particular thing.

  • proscribe

    When someone proscribes an activity, they prohibit it by establishing a rule against it.

  • protracted

    Something protracted is lengthened in its duration.

  • prolix

    Something that is prolix, such as a lecture or speech, is excessively wordy; consequently, it can be tiresome to read or listen to.

  • providential

    A providential event is a very lucky one because it happens at exactly the right time and often when it is needed most.

  • provenance

    The provenance of something is its birthplace or the place from which it originally came.

  • prodigious

    Something that is prodigious is very large, impressive, or great.

  • profusion

    A profusion of something is a very large quantity or variety of it.

  • procrastinate

    When you procrastinate, you put off or delay doing something—usually because it is something unpleasant that you'd rather not do.

  • procure

    When you procure something, you obtain or get it in some fashion.

  • proffer

    When you proffer something to someone, you offer it up or hold it out to them to take.

  • promontory

    A promontory is a high feature of the landscape that juts out over a body of water.

  • promulgate

    To promulgate something is to officially announce it in order to make it widely known or more specifically to let the public know that a new law has been put into effect.

  • propagate

    When things propagate, such as plants, animals, or ideas, they reproduce or generate greater numbers, causing them to spread.

  • proponent

    A proponent is a supporter or backer of something, such as a cause or other endeavor.

  • protrude

    Something that protrudes is sticking or pushing outward from something else.

  • proverbial

    Something that is proverbial is very well-known, famous, or known for its wisdom.

  • propose

    When you propose something, you offer an idea or suggestion in the hope that it is accepted.

  • propel

    When you propel something, you move it ahead or push it forward.

  • compromise

    When you compromise someone's safety, you put it in danger in some way.

  • prosperity

    When someone experiences prosperity, they have success and good fortune in their life.

  • improvidence

    Someone who is improvident does not think about providing for future events and needs, lacks foresight, and is not cautious or sensible.

  • proxy

    A proxy acts as an agent or substitute for someone else, having been given the authority to do so.

  • procedure

    A procedure is a way of doing something or the steps taken to complete something.

  • process

    A process is a number of things that need to be done to complete a task or job.

  • proceed

    If you proceed with something, you continue doing it or start doing it.

  • profit

    A profit is the amount of money a business makes on what it sells, less the cost of making those things.

  • product

    A product is something that is made, created, or grown by a company in large numbers to sell.

  • progress

    When you are making progress on something, such as a job or project, you are moving along well, getting things done, and getting closer to completing it.

  • pronunciation

    Pronunciation is how someone says a word; it also refers to how to say that word correctly.

  • prohibit

    When you prohibit someone from doing something, you keep them from doing it—often by making the action against the law.

  • problem

    a state of difficulty that needs to be resolved

  • problematic

    open to doubt or debate

  • program

    arrange a program of or for

Related Word Parts

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.