• synonyms


  1. a formal element occurring in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “away from”: abdicate; abolition.
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Also a-, abs-.

Origin of ab-

< Latin ab (preposition and prefix) from, away, cognate with Greek apó, Sanskrit ápa, German ab, English of1, off
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for ab-


  1. away from; off; outside of; opposite toabnormal; abaxial; aboral
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Word Origin

from Latin ab away from


  1. denoting a cgs unit of measurement in the electromagnetic systemabvolt
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Word Origin

abstracted from absolute
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 ab-

word-forming element meaning "away, from, from off, down;" from Latin ab-, ab "off, away from," from PIE root *apo- (see apo-). Reduced to a- before -m-, -p-, or -v-; sometimes abs- before -c- or -t-.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper