a-, ab-, abs-

(Latin: prefix; from, away, away from)


This prefix is normally used with elements of Latin and French origins (abs- usually joins elements beginning with c, q, or t).

The form ab- is regularly used before all vowels and h; and it becomes a- before the consonants m, p, and v. The prefix apo- has similar meanings.

This list is a very small sample of the multitudes of a-, ab-, abs- prefixes that are available in dictionaries and those in this unit are only meant to present a few examples.



You can greatly expand your word knowledge in this
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abort (uh BORT) (verb), aborts; aborted; aborting
1. To give birth before the fetus (unborn) is viable (capable of life); to have a miscarriage; or a reference to something that fails to be completed: It was very sad that the baby was aborted because of the injury when the mother fell down the stairs.
2. To cut short because of some failure in equipment: The pilot aborted the flight because of radio failure.

Failure of the radar system will abort the flight of the spaceship until another day.

The family will be aborting their trip to the arctic because of the early onslaught of winter.

3. Etymology: originally, "to set" or "to disappear" (as the sun). Composed of ab-, "from" + oriri- "to arise"; the part of the sky, or the world, in which the sun rises; the East.
aborticidal (adjective) (not comparable)
A reference to the killing of a fetus: The aborticidal operation was performed because the mother could not survive the pregnancy any more.

Tom, the veterinarian, agreed with the farmer that an aborticidal operation on the sow would be the only way to save her life.

aborticide (s) (noun), aborticides (pl)
The destruction of a fetus either by a spontaneous or induced procedure; the act of destroying a fetus in the womb: The parents were distressed because of the natural and unexpected aborticide that happened.
abortifacient (s) (noun), abortifacients (pl)
A device or a drug that causes the death of a fetus before birth: The new abortifacient which the physician used to destroy the fetus was recommended by a medical specialist.

Several experimental abortifacients have been tested by certain laboratories.

abortion (s) (noun), abortions (pl)
1. Expulsion of a fetus from the womb before it is viable; however, medical personnel will also use this term for a miscarriage, which is involuntary: Vivian had to go to the hospital because of an unexpected spontaneous abortion of her fetus.
2. Induced termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent survival: The doctor had to induce an abortion because the health and safety of the mother was at risk.
3. Anything that fails to develop, progress, or mature; such as, a design, project, or a badly developed plan, etc.: The abortion of the plans to build the new civic center was regretted by just about everyone in the community.

The attempt to redesign the airplane was an abortion or failure.

4. To miscarry, to disappear: The inclement weather helped Norman to determine that the abortion of their hiking plans was the only safe thing to do.
5. Etymology: ab-, "from, away from" + oriri, "to come into being, to rise, to be born".
abortional (adjective), more abortional, most abortional
Referring to or pertaining to the cessation, or discontinuation, of a pregnancy or a fetal development; miscarrying: Dr. Smith was correct to use abortional terminology when discussing the mother's condition.

John, the veterinarian, ordered some new abortional medication to be used in his animal clinic.

abortionism (s) (noun), abortionisms (pl)
The support or recommendation of the termination of a pregnancy: Tonya's sister, who is a doctor, supports abortionism once the client has had a medical examination and counseling.
abortionist (s) (noun), abortionists (pl)
1. Anyone who believes and promotes the ending of a pregnancy: The speaker was a well-known abortionist who advocated supporting the legal termination of pregnancies.
2. The action also refers to someone who makes a business of ending a pregnancy illegally: The backstreet abortionist has recently been arrested by the police.
3. People who support, or advocate ending pregnancies when a woman wants it to be done: The noisy crowd in front of the clinic included many well known abortionists.
4. Anyone who takes the action of stopping a project, a mission, etc, before it is completed: The engineer for the city was an abortionist who advocated discontinuing the building of the expensive bridge because of the excessive costs.
abortion-on-demand (s) (noun), abortions-on-demand (pl)
The right of a woman to have a medical operation at any time during pregnancy in which a developing fetus is removed so it is not born alive: The rallying cry of the pro-choice group at the parade was for the right of women to have abortions-on-demand.
abortive (adjective), more abortive, most abortive
1. A reference to being incompletely developed: Constance made an abortive effort to get her acting career back on track.
2. Failing to end a pregnancy by removing an embryo or fetus from the womb: The surgery which Thomas, the veterinarian, performed was an abortive effort and did not save the unborn calf.
3. Cutting short the course of a disease: The normal course of the illness was not felt because of the abortive intervention by the medical specialists.
4. Failing to accomplish an objective, futile; imperfectly developed: Marlene and Vincent made an abortive attempt to complete the project.
abortively (adverb), more abortively, most abortively
In an untimely manner; immaturely; fruitlessly: Bessie was abortively chasing the taxi down the street after she realized that she had left a package in the back seat.

The life of the horse was abortively cut short by an untimely accident.

abortiveness (s) (noun) (usually no plural)
1. That which has failed to accomplish an intended result: The abortiveness of solving the financial crisis has resulted in a worse economic situation.
2. Something which is partially or imperfectly developed: There was an abortiveness about the jokes that were being told at the Stand-Up Comedy club.

When Vincent retired, he acknowledged that the single abortiveness of his career was the result of his being unable to prevent the foreclosures on mortgages.

abortorium (s) (noun); abortoria (pl)
A clinic (clinics) or a hospital (hospitals) where premature stoppages of natural or pathological processes are performed: The veterinarian college established an abortorium for the students to use for their studies.

There were several abortoria in the rural area of the province.

abrasion (uh BRAY shuhn) (s) (noun), abrasions (pl)
1. Something that has been scraped or rubbed off; such as, skin: The nurse put medication on the abrasion of the child's knee.

The abrasion on Rodney's knee finally healed and the abrasion on Nancy's elbow has been healing very well.

2. A wearing away by rubbing or scraping, as of rock by wind, water, etc.: Years of abrasions had worn the surface of the stones so they are now smooth.

The abrasions on the cliff side were examples of the destructive powers of natural resources, winds, and water.

3. Etymology: from Medieval Latin (about A.D. 700 to A.D. 1500) abrasionem, abrasio, "a scraping"; from Latin abradere, "to scrape away, to shave off"; from ab-, "off" + radere, "to scrape" or "to rub".
abrasive (s) (noun), abrasives (pl)
1. A scraping or grinding material: Natalie was told that sandpaper, or some other abrasive, would be needed to remove the old paint.
2. A substance used for rubbing or polishing: The cabinetmaker recommended an abrasive that used only natural materials for use on the wooden furniture.

When Glenda went to the store, she noticed that there were at least three kinds of abrasives from which to choose for her home improvement project.