- a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion: regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert.
Origin of re-
- indicating return to a previous condition, restoration, withdrawal, etcrebuild; renew; retrace; reunite
- indicating repetition of an actionrecopy; remarry
Word Origin and History for re-
word-forming element meaning "back to the original place; again, anew, once more," also with a sense of "undoing," c.1200, from Old French and directly from Latin re- "again, back, anew, against," "Latin combining form concievably from Indo-European *wret-, metathetical variant of *wert- "to turn" [Watkins]. Often merely intensive, and in many of the older borrowings from French and Latin the precise sense of re- is lost in secondary senses or weakened beyond recognition. OED writes that it is "impossible to attempt a complete record of all the forms resulting from its use," and adds that "The number of these is practically infinite ...." The Latin prefix became red- before vowels and h-, e.g. redact, redeem, redolent, redundant.
- Again; anew:rebreathing.
- Backward; back:recurvation.