- one: young uns; He's a bad un.
- a prefix meaning “not,” freely used as an English formative, giving negative or opposite force in adjectives and their derivative adverbs and nouns (unfair; unfairly; unfairness; unfelt; unseen; unfitting; unformed; unheard-of; un-get-at-able), and less freely used in certain other nouns (unrest; unemployment).
Origin of un-1
- a prefix freely used in English to form verbs expressing a reversal of some action or state, or removal, deprivation, release, etc. (unbend; uncork; unfasten, etc.), or to intensify the force of a verb already having such a meaning (unloose).
Origin of un-2
Examples from the Web for un
The report builds on a recent UN report documenting the high economic costs worldwide of domestic violence.The Women Battling an Islamist Strongman
December 22, 2014
Normal procedure is that any member country can request that a document be circulated, and the UN does it pro-forma.Exclusive: Sony Emails Say Studio Exec Picked Kim Jong-Un as the Villain of ‘The Interview’
December 19, 2014
Jamming Netanyahu at the UN will buck him up among the right.
Ideally, Kerry would like to see the UN issue deferred until after the March Israeli elections.
The Senate confirmed him once before, in 2011, for a posting to the UN.Meet America’s Next Ambassador to Cuba
December 18, 2014
How sich a deep 'un as Clayton ever trusted him, I can't tell.
Mother, speak to 'un; speak to sister Mary too—it be our own Mary!
"You're a-gittin' lazy, old 'un—that's about the size of it," he said.
He's a rough 'un to play with, is that 'ere Papist, and that's the fact.'Barnaby Rudge
"I knowed 'un ever since 'e were a baby," he said, and his lips were quivering.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
- United Nations
- (freely used with adjectives, participles, and their derivative adverbs and nouns: less frequently used with certain other nouns) not; contrary to; opposite ofuncertain; uncomplaining; unemotionally; untidiness; unbelief; unrest; untruth
- denoting reversal of an action or stateuncover; untangle
- denoting removal from, release, or deprivationunharness; unman; unthrone
Word Origin and History for un
prefix of reversal (e.g. unhand, undo, unbutton), Old English on-, un-, from Proto-Germanic *andi- (cf. Old Saxon ant-, Old Norse and-, Dutch ont-, Old High German ant-, German ant-, Gothic and- "against"), from PIE *anti "facing opposite, near, in front of, before" (see ante).
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (cf. Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (cf. Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), a variant of PIE root *ne- "not" (cf. Avestan na, Old Church Slavonic and Lithuanian ne "not," Latin ne "that not," Greek ne- "not," Old Irish ni, Cornish ny "not").
Freely and widely used since Old English in compounds with native and imported words, it disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.). Often euphemistic (e.g. untruth for "lie"). The most prolific of English prefixes, it even is used to make words from phrases (e.g. uncalled-for, c.1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but not restricted to un-; cf. put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegram-ese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is first attested 1936.