Numerical prefix


Numerical prefix

Numerical prefixes are usually derived from the words for numbers in various languages, most commonly Greek and Latin, although this is not always the case.

* They occur in 19th, 20th and 21st century coinages, mainly the terms that are used in relation to or that are the names of technological innovations, such as and .
* They occur in constructed words such as systematic names. Systematic names use numerical prefixes derived from Greek, with one principal exception, .
* They occur as prefixes to units of measure in the SI system. See SI prefixes.
* They occur as prefixes to units of computer data. See binary prefixes.
* They occur in words in the same languages as the original number word, and their respective derivatives. (Strictly speaking, some of the common citations of these occurrences are "not" in fact occurrences of the prefixes. For example: is not formed from , but is in fact derived from the same shared Latin root – .)

Because of the common inheritance of Greek and Latin roots across the Romance languages, the import of much of that derived vocabulary into non-Romance languages (such as into English via Norman French), and the borrowing of 19th and 20th century coinages into many languages, the same numerical prefixes occur in many languages.

Numerical prefixes are not restricted to denoting integers. Some of the SI prefixes denote negative powers of 10, i.e. division by a multiple of 10 rather than multiplication by it. Several common-use numerical prefixes denote vulgar fractions.

Words comprising non-technical numerical prefixes are usually not hyphenated. This is not an absolute rule, however, and there are exceptions. (For example: occurs in addition to .) There are no exceptions for words comprising technical numerical prefixes, though. Systematic names and words comprising SI prefixes and binary prefixes are not hyphenated, by definition.

Nonetheless, for clarity, dictionaries list numerical prefixes in hyphenated form, to distinguish the prefixes from words with the same spellings (such as and ).

Several technical numerical prefixes are not derived from words for numbers. ( is not derived from a number word, for example.) Similarly, some are only derived from words for numbers inasmuch as they are word play. ( is word play on , for example. See its etymology for details.)

The root language of a numerical prefix need not be related to the root language of the word that it prefixes. Some words comprising numerical prefixes are hybrid words.

In certain classes of systematic names, there are a few other exceptions to the rule of using Greek-derived numerical prefixes. The IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry, for example, uses the numerical prefixes derived from Greek, except for the prefix for 9 (as mentioned) and the prefixes from 1 to 4 (meth-, eth-, prop-, and but-), which are not derived from words for numbers. These prefixes were invented by the IUPAC, deriving them from the pre-existing names for several compounds that it was intended to preserve in the new system: (via which is in turn from the Greek word for wine), (from coined by Justus von Liebig in 1834), (from which is in turn from and the Greek for word for fat), and (from which is in turn from which is in turn from the Latin word for butter).

Table of non-technical numeric prefixes

:"This also includes the technical numeric prefixes used for systematic names. For tables of other technical numeric prefixes, see SI prefixes and binary prefixes."

Notes

* Sometimes the prefixes are cited as though they were the original words themselves. The prefixes derived from Greek are not only in the wrong alphabet, but also differ from the actual corresponding Greek words. See the individual word etymologies for the actual number words.
* The prefixes in this column are also unbound morphemes.
* See Mendeleev's predicted elements for the most common use of these numerical prefixes.
* "Haplo-", from Greek "haplóos" "single"/"simple", is used only in genetics to designate haploidy and related terms.
* Greek "hexa-"/"hex-" is sometimes used in words for 6, even when Latin "sexa-"/"sex-" would be more etymologically appropriate, because of the similarity to English “sexFact|date=July 2008; e.g. "hexadecimal".
* The distinction between Latin and Greek is blurred in the case of 8. Unlike the other numbers, there was little divergence between Latin and Greek in the words for 8. Whilst is primarily of Greek derivation, and can be considered to be derived from both Greek and Latin.

Further reading

*


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prefix (disambiguation) — A prefix is a part of a word attached to a stem which modifies the meaning of that stem.Prefix may also refer to: *Prefix (computer science), a prefix of a string *The Prefix a mixtape by the American rapper, Lil Wayne *Numerical prefix, a prefix …   Wikipedia

  • Number prefix — Number prefixes are prefixes derived from numbers or numerals. In English and other European languages, they are used to coin numerous series of words, such as unicycle – bicycle – tricycle, dyad – triad – decade, biped – quadruped, September –… …   Wikipedia

  • SI prefix — SI prefixes in everyday use Text Symbol Factor tera T 1000000000000 giga G 1000000 …   Wikipedia

  • Alkane — Not to be confused with Alkene or Alkyne. Chemical structure of methane, the simplest alkane Alkanes (also known as paraffins or saturated hydrocarbons) are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded… …   Wikipedia

  • Cycloalkane — Ball and stick model of cyclobutane Cycloalkanes (also called naphthenes not to be confused with naphthalene) are types of alkanes that have one or more rings of carbon atoms in the chemical structure of their molecules. Alkanes are types of… …   Wikipedia

  • IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry — For the current Red Book version, see IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry 2005. The IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry is a systematic method of naming inorganic chemical compounds, as recommended by the International Union of Pure… …   Wikipedia

  • hydrocarbon — hydrocarbonaceous, adj. /huy dreuh kahr beuhn, huy dreuh kahr /, n. any of a class of compounds containing only hydrogen and carbon, as an alkane, methane, CH4, an alkene, ethylene, C2H4, an alkyne, acetylene, C2H2, or an aromatic compound,… …   Universalium

  • Tetralogy — A tetralogy is a compound work that is made up of four (numerical prefix ) distinct works.The name comes from the Attic theater, where tetralogies were meant to be played in one sitting at the Dionysia. In more recent times, Shakespeare wrote two …   Wikipedia

  • List of mathematics articles (N) — NOTOC N N body problem N category N category number N connected space N dimensional sequential move puzzles N dimensional space N huge cardinal N jet N Mahlo cardinal N monoid N player game N set N skeleton N sphere N! conjecture Nabla symbol… …   Wikipedia

  • Deca- — This article is about the SI prefix. For other uses, see Deca. Deca or deka [1] (symbol da) is a prefix in the metric system, also a numerical prefix, denoting a factor of ten. The term is derived from the Greek δέκα meaning ten . Its symbol is… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.