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
and in all of the other word units.

abstractive (adjective), more abstractive, most abstractive
A descriptive term for anything that is concerned primarily with theories or hypotheses rather than practical considerations: There are too many abstractive definitions presented by dictionaries that are repetitious with words that include a slightly different format of the main entry and which result in definitions that are abstruse, lack clarity, or are simply too difficult for readers to comprehend.
abstractiveness (s) (noun) (no plural)
A process in which higher conceptions (time when someone creates a new idea) are derived from the usage and classification of "real" or "concrete" ideas about things or groups of things that are derived from specific instances or occurrences or by other methods: The Board of Directors were presenting investment ideas that were more in the realm of abstractiveness than of practical concepts.
abstractly (adverb), more abstractly, most abstractly
1. In a manner of being disassociated from any specific instance: Roy abstractly communicated his feelings regarding the breakup of his marriage.
2. A reference to something that is difficult to understand: Lynn had difficulty comprehending the doctor's abstractly presented diagnosis of her illness.
abstractness (s) (noun), abstractnesses (pl)
That which is not physical nor consisting of matter: Benjamin's abstractness was evidently a result of his being in a state of contemplation and not being connected with anything concrete or solid.
abstrude (verb), abstrudes; abstruded; abstruding
To thrust, to push forcefully, or to pull away: Using the oars, Adam abstruded his boat away from the dock and rowed out onto the lake.
abstruse (adjective), more abstruse, most abstruse
1. Concealed or hidden; complex, obscure, and difficult to understand: The poetry of Harry Philips was often described as abstruse and so it was often relegated to the bottom shelf of many libraries.
2. Difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge: Some scientists may understand Einstein's theory of relativity; however, for most nonscientists, it continues to be an abstruse collection of surrealistic or unrealistic ideas.
3. Etymology: from Latin abstrusus, past participle of abstrudere, "conceal"; literally, "to thrust away", from ab-, "away" + trudere "to thrust, to push".
Complex and so very hard to understand.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Too difficult to know what is being presented.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Difficult or too complex to comprehend.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Remote from apprehension.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

abstrusely (adverb), more abstrusely, most abstrusely
1. In a manner difficult to understand: Bruce's essay about climate changes was abstrusely difficult to understand except by an expert weather specialist.
2. A concealed way of doing something: Sally abstrusely designed secret pockets in the jacket she was making so the one who wore it could hide cash and small valuables without anyone else being aware of it.
3. Difficult to be comprehended or understood; opposed to what is obvious: Jeremy's theory seems to be that the more abstrusely he writes the more famous he will become.
abstruseness (s) (noun), abstrusenesses (pl)
1. The quality of being unclear and hard to understand; obscureness: The abstruseness of the economist when he was speaking at the forum about the economic situation was confusing his audience.
2. Wisdom that is recondite (little known; obscure), difficult to comprehend, and profound; The university students were confused by the professor's abstrusenesses in some of his lectures about philosophical and religious beliefs and practices.
absurd (adjective), more absurd, most absurd
1. Ridiculous because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical: Louis thought it was an absurd idea to go to the movie so late.
2. Lacking any meaning that would give purpose to life: The young woman's absurd lifestyle seemed pointless and worrisome to her parents.
3. The condition of living in a meaningless universe where life has no purpose; especially, as a concept in some twentieth-century philosophical movements: Jeremy, the university student, was determined to study the seemingly absurd lives of famous poets who had died young.
4. Relating to, or manifesting, the view that there is no order or value in human life or in the universe: The absurd theory about the meaninglessness of human existence did not appeal to James when he was attending the special lecture presented by a religious leader.
5. Out of tune, incongruous, senseless; so clearly untrue or unreasonable as to be laughable or ridiculous: The absurd quality of the theater production seemed to confuse the critics who were not sure if the drama was serious or just a joke.

Something is absurd when it is contrary to the first principles of reasoning; such as, a part of something should be greater than the whole is considered to be absurd.

Being monstrous and preposterous both refer to what is overwhelmingly absurd.

So clearly unreasonable or untrue as to be ridiculous.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

absurdism (s) (noun), absurdisms (pl)
1. The idea or philosophy that humans exist in a chaotic or purposeless universe: Many people who subscribed to the belief called absurdism became disillusioned by reality later in their lives.
2. An act or instance of the ridiculous: The absurdisms which were portrayed on the stage upset the audience who expected better from the director and actors.
absurdist (adjective) (not comparable)
1. Having or expressing the belief that human existence and behavior are meaningless; that is, unreasonable or impossible to believe: Dr. Smith, the scientist, could not present an acceptable rationale for his absurdist statements regarding the violence of people in different societies.
2. A reference to or concerning that which is inconsistent with reason, logic, or common sense: The absurdist student told his teacher that the dog had eaten his homework.
absurdist (s) (noun), absurdists (pl)
1. Someone who considers something as being extremely silly, unreasonable, or foolish: Ted's lawyer claimed that the charges made by the absurdist in the police department were obviously unfounded because Ted was in another country when the crime was committed.
2. A person who acts or presents characteristics of being ridiculous: Mr. Potter, the politician, was described by some people as another in a series of absurdists who were candidates for mayor.
absurdity (s) (noun), absurdities (pl)
1. Ridiculousness because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical: Absurdities of life in the city were depicted on the new mural painted on the wall of the city hall.
2. Anything that is considered to be lacking in order and meaning: For some students, mathematics is an absurdity and is an illogical process.
absurdness (s) (noun), absurdnesses (pl)
1. A message whose content is at variance with reason: The absurdness of the letter from the bank was confusing to Joan's uncle.
2. Ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous: Mr. Anderson, the drama teacher, commented about the absurdness of the new play which was being developed by the students in his class.
abundance (s) (noun), abundances (pl)
1. A more than plentiful quantity of something: An abundance of wealth is a great amount of cash.
2. Lifestyles with more than adequate material provisions: Barry's family has abundances of different homes around the world as well as all of the luxuries that can be obtained for them.
3. A fullness of spirit that overflows: The sermon by the preacher was filled with an abundance of goodwill and kindness.
4. The extent to which an element is present in the earth or in a rock: There is a rumor of an abundance of minerals hidden in the abandoned mine.
5. The proportion of one isotope of an element, expressed by number of atoms, to the total quantity of the element: Mr. Young, the chemistry teacher, urged his classes to study and to understand the abundance factors of the chemical elements.
6. Etymology: nothing suggests great abundance more vividly than overflowing waves; and that is the literal meaning of the word abundance.

In Latin, unda means "wave", poetically "sea". The Romans combined ab, "from", and unda into the word abundare, "to overflow"; literally, "to come from the waves" or "from the sea"; applied to anything very plentiful.

The stem of abundare resulted in the English verb "to abound", and a derivative provided the noun abundance. Inundate, "to flood", also comes from unda, as does undulate, "to move like the waves".