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un-,  [OE. un-, on-, the unaccented form of the accented prefix and- (cf. Answer); akin to D. ont-, G. ent-, OHG. int-, Goth. and-. See Anti-.].
     An inseparable verbal prefix or particle. It is prefixed: (a) To verbs to express the contrary, and not the simple negative, of the action of the verb to which it is prefixed; as in unbend, uncoil, undo, unfold. (b) To nouns to form verbs expressing privation of the thing, quality, or state expressed by the noun, or separation from it; as in unchild, unsex. Sometimes particles and participial adjectives formed with this prefix coincide in form with compounds of the negative prefix un- (see 2d Un-); as in undone (from undo), meaning unfastened, ruined; and undone (from 2d un- and done) meaning not done, not finished. Un- is sometimes used with an intensive force merely; as in unloose.  [1913 Webster]
    " Compounds of this prefix are given in full in their proper order in the Vocabulary."  [1913 Webster]
un-adv. [OE. & AS. un-; akin to OFries. un-, D. on-, OS., OHG., & G. un-, Icel. , , Sw. o-, Dan. u-, W. an-, L. in-, Gr. , , Skr. an-, a-. √193. Cf. A- not In- not, No, adv.].
     An inseparable prefix, or particle, signifying not; in-; non-. In- is prefixed mostly to words of Latin origin, or else to words formed by Latin suffixes; un- is of much wider application, and is attached at will to almost any adjective, or participle used adjectively, or adverb, from which it may be desired to form a corresponding negative adjective or adverb, and is also, but less freely, prefixed to nouns. Un- sometimes has merely an intensive force; as in unmerciless, unremorseless.  [1913 Webster]


un-, prefix.
1 added to adjectives and participles and their derivative nouns and adverbs, meaning: a not: denoting the absence of a quality or state (unusable; uncalled-for; uneducated; unfailing; unofficially; unhappiness). b the reverse of, usu. with an implication of approval or disapproval, or with some other special connotation (unselfish; unsociable; unscientific).

The number of words that can be formed with this prefix (and similarly with un-(2)) is potentially as large as the number of adjectives in use; consequently only a selection, being considered the most current or semantically noteworthy, can be given here.
un-, prefix added to verbs and (less often) nouns, forming verbs denoting:
1 the reversal or cancellation of an action or state (undress; unlock; unsettle).
2 deprivation or separation (unmask).
3 release from (unburden; uncage).
4 causing to be no longer (unman).

See the note at un-(1). Both un-(1) and un-(2) can be understood in some forms in -able, -ed (especially), and -ing: for example, undressed can mean either 'not dressed' or 'no longer dressed'.
OE un-, on- f. Gmc
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