a prefix meaning “down,” “against,” “back,” occurring originally in loanwords from Greek (cataclysm; catalog; catalepsy); on this model, used in the formation of other compound words (catagenesis; cataphyll).
English Affixes From A To Z: A One-Stop List Of Suffixes, Prefixes, and Combining FormsIn English, we love to make new words by adding all sorts of bits to the front and back of existing terms. These are called affixes, and they are added to the base or stem of a word. When attached to the end of word, the affix is called a suffix. And to the beginning? A prefix.
Origin of cata-
< Greek kata-, combining form of katá down, through, against, according to, towards, during
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British Dictionary definitions for cata-
kata-, before an aspirate cath- or before a vowel cat-
down; downwards; lower in positioncatadromous; cataphyll
indicating reversal, opposition, degeneration, etccataplasia; catatonia
Word Origin for cata-
from Greek kata-, from kata. In compound words borrowed from Greek, kata- means: down (catabolism), away, off (catalectic), against (category), according to (catholic), and thoroughly (catalogue)
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
Medicine definitions for cata-
Reverse; backward; degenerative:cataplasia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.