Was merely curious about the origination of "a" being use as a prefix to mean "not", as in atypical or asymptomatic. I have only done a cursory search for an answer, but I figured it may be easier to ask a learned community rather than spend countless hours on my own

  • 3
    Short answer: Greek
    – Draconis
    Oct 3, 2021 at 3:10
  • @Draconis. Slightly longer answer: the prefix a- is productive in English and can be added also to non-Greek words.
    – fdb
    Oct 3, 2021 at 9:48

1 Answer 1


From Ancient Greek ἀ- from Proto-Indo-European n̥-, which is a zero-grade prefix form of ne, which meant "not".

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