English Language

What is the definition of the prefix en?



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within, in
en- 1 (also em-)


1 forming verbs (added to nouns) expressing entry into the specified state or location : engulf | embed.

2 forming verbs (added to nouns and adjectives) expressing conversion into the specified state (as in encrust, ennoble).

• often forming verbs having the suffix -en (as in embolden, enliven).

3 (added to verbs) in; into; on : ensnare.

• as an intensifier : entangle.

ORIGIN from French, from Latin in-. See also in- 2 , a commonly found by-form.

en- 2 (also em-)


within; inside : encyst | endemic | embolism | empyema.

ORIGIN from Greek. --Oxford American Dictionary