Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix ex-, with its variants e- and ec-, mean “out.”
Ex- is the most common form of this prefix. For instance, when you exit a building, you go “out” of it. When you extend your hand in friendship towards another, you stretch it “out” towards that person. If something exceeds normal boundaries, it goes “out” of them. And when you exclude someone from a group, you shut him “out.” The prefix ex- most commonly occurs before a vowel, and select consonants, such as “t” and “c.”
E- is a spelling variant of the prefix ex-, which also means “out.” When you eject someone from a game for being obnoxious, you throw him “out.” When a bulb emits light, it sends it “out.” When someone emigrates, he moves “out” of one country to live in another. And when you eradicate something? You tear it “out” by its root to get rid of it completely. The prefix e- always occurs before a consonant.
The last form of the prefix ex- is ec-, which also means “out.” An eccentric person is unusual because she is “out” of the center of usual conduct. An appendectomy is a cutting “out” of the appendix, just as a tonsillectomy is a cutting “out” of the tonsils. And when someone is ecstatic about something that happened, she stands “out” of her normal state because she is so very excited. The ec- form of the prefix ex- always occurs before a consonant.
We are now “out” of time. Never again will you leave “out,” eject, or exclude any words with e-, ec-, or ex-, making your mind ecstatic with vocabulary joy!
- exit: go ‘out’
- extend: stretch ‘out’
- exceed: go ‘out’
- exclude: shut ‘out’
- eject: throw ‘out’
- emit: send ‘out’
- emigrate: move ‘out’
- eradicate: pull ‘out’ by the root
- eccentric: ‘out’ of center
- appendectomy: cutting the appendix ‘out’
- tonsillectomy: cutting the tonsils ‘out’
- ecstatic: of standing ‘out’ from a normal emotional state