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  1. Finance. without, not including, or without the right to have: ex interest; ex rights.
  2. Commerce. free of charges to the purchaser until the time of removal from a specified place or thing: ex ship; ex warehouse; ex elevator.
  3. (in U.S. colleges and universities) from, but not graduated with, the class of: ex '47.

Origin of ex1

1835–45; < L. See ex-1


  1. the letter X, x.


noun Informal.
  1. a former spouse or a former partner in a long-term romantic relationship; ex-wife, ex-husband, or ex-lover.

Origin of ex3

First recorded in 1820–30; by shortening


adjective Slang.
  1. excellent(def 1).

Origin of ex4

by shortening


  1. examination.
  2. examined.
  3. example.
  4. except.
  5. exception.
  6. exchange.
  7. excursion.
  8. executed.
  9. executive.
  10. express.
  11. extra.


  1. a prefix meaning “out of,” “from,” and hence “utterly,” “thoroughly,” and sometimes meaning “not” or “without” or indicating a former title, status, etc.; freely used as an English formative: exstipulate; exterritorial; ex-president (former president); ex-member; ex-wife.
Also e-1, ef-.

Origin of ex-1

< Latin, combining form of ex, ē (preposition) out (of), from, beyond


  1. variant of exo-.


  1. a prefix identical in meaning with ex- 1, occurring before vowels in words of Greek origin: exarch; exegesis.
Also ec-.

Origin of ex-3

< Gk combining form of ex, ek, out (of), from, beyond; see ec-, ex-1


  1. Exodus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ex

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The ex Governor's warmth had been somewhat cooled by the unexpected interruption.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • If this is not the system of the party, they have none, and act ‘ex tempore.’

    Patrick Henry</p>

    Moses Coit Tyler

  • The priest was ex officio, but Captain Dwyer was a gentleman, born and bred.

    Arthur O'Leary

    Charles James Lever

  • Ex parte: on one side; an ex parte statement is a statement on one side only.

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • The traditions on the subject are unsupported, ex parte, and legendary.

British Dictionary definitions for ex


  1. finance not participating in; excluding; withoutex bonus; ex dividend; ex rights
  2. commerce without charge to the buyer until removed fromex quay; ex ship; ex works

Word Origin

C19: from Latin: out of, from


  1. informal (a person's) former wife, husband, etc
  2. Canadian short for examination


  1. out of; outside of; fromexclosure; exurbia
  2. formerex-wife

Word Origin

from Latin, from ex (prep), identical in meaning and origin with Greek ex, ek; see ec-


combining form
  1. a variant of exo- exergonic


abbreviation for
  1. Exodus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ex


1827, originally short for ex-Catholic; ultimately from Latin ex (see ex-). Since 1929 as abbreviation for ex-wife, ex-husband, etc. Also used in some commercial senses for "from, out of."


word-forming element, in English meaning mainly "out of, from," but also "upwards, completely, deprive of, without," and "former;" from Latin ex "out of, from within," from PIE *eghs "out" (cf. Gaulish ex-, Old Irish ess-, Old Church Slavonic izu, Russian iz). In some cases also from Greek cognate ex, ek. PIE *eghs had comparative form *eks-tero and superlative *eks-t(e)r-emo-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ex in Medicine


  1. Outside; out of; away from:excementosis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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