Numeral or number prefixes are prefixes derived from numerals or occasionally other numbers. In English and many other languages, they are used to coin numerous series of words. For example:

In many European languages there are two principal systems, taken from Latin and Greek, each with several subsystems; in addition, Sanskrit occupies a marginal position.[B] There is also an international set of metric prefixes, which are used in the world's standard measurement system.

Table of number prefixes in English

In the following prefixes, a final vowel is normally dropped before a root that begins with a vowel, with the exceptions of bi-, which is extended to bis- before a vowel; among the other monosyllables, du-, di-, dvi-, and tri-, never vary.

Words in the cardinal catgegory are cardinal numbers, such as the English one, two, three, which name the count of items in a sequence. The multiple category are adverbial numbers, like the English once, twice, thrice, that specify the number of events or instances of otherwise identical or similar items. Enumeration with the distributive catgegory originally was meant to specify one each, two each or one by one, two by two, etc., giving how many items of each type are desired or had been found, although distinct word forms for that meaning are now mostly lost. The ordinal catgegory are based on ordinal numbers such as the English first, second, third, which specify position of items in a sequence. In Latin and Greek, the ordinal forms are also used for fractions for amounts higher than 2; only the fraction  1 / 2 has special forms.

The same suffix may be used with more than one category of number, take for example the following:

Ordinal
numbers
primary secondary tertiary quartary
[citation needed]
quintary sextary septimary octavary nonary decimary
Distributive
numbers
singulary
[citation needed]
binary ternary,
trinary
quaternary quinary senary septenary octonary novenary denary

For the hundreds, there are competing forms: Those in -gent-, from the original Latin, and those in -cent-, derived from centi-, etc. plus the prefixes for 1 through 9 .

Many of the items in the following tables are not in general use, but may rather be regarded as coinages by individuals. In scientific contexts, either scientific notation or SI prefixes are used to express very large or very small numbers, and not unwieldy prefixes.

Number prefixes in English
Number Latin
derived
Greek[C]
derived
Sanskrit[B]
Cardinal Multiple Distributive Ordinal Cardinal Multiple,
proportional, or
quantitative
Ordinal
0 nulli- nullesim- miden-, ouden-
medeproto-, oudeproto- shūnya-
1/ 12  unci-[1]
Greek uses ordinals to name fractions; (i.e. dodecato-)
 1 / 8 octant-
As above; ogdoö
 1 / 6 sextant-
As above; hecto
 1 / 5 quintant-
As above; pempto–
 1 / 4 quadrant-
As above; tetarto–
 1 / 3 trient-
As above; trito–
 1 / 2 semi-
demi-[D]
hemi- ("half")[a]
 3 / 4 dodrant-
1 uni-[b]
sol-[E][c]
sim-[F] singul- prim- mono- ("one", "alone")[d]
holo- ("entire", "full")[e]
hen-[G] rare
mono- ("one, alone")
hapax- ("once")
haplo-[G] ("single")
monad- ("one of a kind", "unique", "unit")
prot-[2][f]
protaio- ("[every] first day")
eka-[3]
1 + 1 / 4
quasqui-[g]
1 + 1 / 2
sesqui-[h]
2 du- bi-, bis-[i] bin- second- di-, dy-,[4] duo-, dyo- dis-[5] ("twice") common
dyakis- ("twice") rare
diplo- ("double")
dyad- ("two of a
kind
")
deuter-[6][j]
deuteraio- ("[every] second day")
dvi-[7]
2 + 1 / 2
semiquin-[k]
3 tri-[l] ter- tern-, trin- terti- tri-[m] tris-[8] ("thrice") common
triakis- ("thrice") rare
triplo- ("triple")
triad- ("three of a kind")
trit-[9] ("third")[n]
tritaio- ("[every] third day")
tri-[10]
4 quadri-, quadru-[H] quater-[12] quatern-[13] quart-[14] tetra-, tessara- tetrakis- ("four times")
tetraplo- ("quadruple")
tetrad- ("four of a kind")[o]
tetarto- ("fourth")
tetartaio-
("[every] fourth day")
catur-[15]
5 quinque-[16]
quin-[17] quint-[18] penta- pentakis-
pentaplo-
pentad-[p]
pempt-[19]
pemptaio-
pañca-[20]
6 sexa-[I]
sen-[21] sext-[22] hexa-[23] hexakis-
hexaplo-
hexad-[q]
hect-[24]
hectaio-
ṣaṭ-[25]
7 septem-, septi-[r] septen-[26] septim- hepta-[27][s] heptakis-
heptaplo-
heptad-
hebdomo- ("seventh")
hebdomaio- ("seventh day")[t]
sapta-[28]
8 octo-[u]
octon-[29] octav-[30] octo-[v] octakis-
octaplo-
octad-[w]
ogdoö-
ogdoaio-
aṣṭa-
9 novem-[x] noven- nona- ennea-[31] enneakis-
enneaplo-
ennead-
enat-[32]
enataio-
nava-
10 decem-, dec-[y] den-[33] decim-[34] deca-[35][z] decakis-
decaplo-
decad-
decat-[36]
decataio-
dasha-
11 undec- unden-[37] undecim-[38] hendeca-[39] hendeca/kis/plo/d- hendecat-[40]/o/aio- ekadasha-
12 duodec- duoden-[aa] duodecim- dodeca-[41][ab] dodeca/kis/plo/d- dodecat-[42]/o/aio- dvadasha-
13 tredec- treden- tredecim- tria(kai)deca-, decatria-[ac] tris(kai)decakis-,
decatria/kis/plo/d-
decatotrito-
etc.
trayodasha-
14 quattuordec- quattuorden- quattuordecim-
quartadecim-
tessara(kai)deca-, decatettara-, decatessara- tetra(kai)decakis-,
decatetra/kis/plo/d-[ad]
decatotetarto- chaturdasha-
15 quinquadec-, quindec-[43] quinden-[44] quindecim-[45]
quintadecim-
pente(kai)deca-, decapente- penta(kai)decakis-,
decapentakis- etc.
decatopempto- panchadasha-
16 sedec-,[46] sexdec-

(but hybrid hexadecimal)

seden- sedecim-
sextadecim-
hexa(kai)deca-,
hekkaideca-,
decahex-
hexa(kai)decakis-,
decahexakis- etc.
decatohecto- shodasha-
17 septendec- septenden- septendecim-
septimadecim-
hepta(kai)deca-,
decahepta-
hepta(kai)decakis-,
decaheptakis- etc.
decatohebdomo- saptadasha-
18 octodec- octoden- octodecim-
duodevicesim-
octo(kai)deca-,
decaocto-
octa(kai)decakis-,
decaoctakis- etc.
decatoogdoö- ashtadasha-
19 novemdec-, novendec-
undeviginti-
novemden-
novenden-
novemdecim-
novendecim-
undevisim-
ennea(kai)deca-, decaennea- ennea(kai)decakis-,
decaenneakis- etc.
decatoenato- navadasha-
20[J] viginti- vicen-, vigen- vigesim- (e)icosi- eicosa/kis/plo/d-[ae] eicosto- vimshati-
22 duovigint- (e)icosidyo-, dyo(e)icosi- rare[af] (e)icosidyakis-
(e)icosidiplo-
(e)icosidyad-
eicostodeutero-
24 quattuorvigint- (e)icositettara-, (e)icosikaitettara-
rare
(e)icositetrakis-
(e)icositetraplo-
(e)icositetrad-[ag]
eicostotetarto- chaturvimshati-
25 quinvigint- (e)icosipente-[ah] (e)icosipentakis-
(e)icosipentaplo-
(e)icosipentad-
eicostopempto-
30 triginti- tricen- trigesim- triaconta- triacontakis- etc.[ai] triacosto- trimshat-
31 untriginti- triacontahen- triacontahenakis-
triacontahenaplo-
triacontahenad-
triacostoproto-
triacostoprotaio-
40 quadraginti- quadragen- quadragesim- tettaraconta-,
tessaraconta-
tettaracontakis-,
tessaracontakis- etc.
tessaracosto- chatvarimshat-
50 quinquaginti-[47] quinquagen-[48] quinquagesim-[49] penteconta-[aj] pentecontakis- etc. pentecosto-[ak] panchashat-
60 sexaginti- sexagen- sexagesim- hexeconta- hexecontakis- etc. hexecosto- shasti-
70 septuaginti-[al] septuagen- septuagesim-[50] hebdomeconta- hebdomecontakis- etc. hebdomecosto- saptati-
80 octogint- octogen- octogesim- ogdoëconta- ogdoëcontakis- etc. ogdoëcosto- ashiti-
90 nonagint- nonagen- nonagesim- eneneconta- enenecontakis- etc. enenecosto- navati-
100 centi- centen- centesim- hecato(n)- hecatontakis-
hundred times
hecatontaplo-
hundred-multiple
hecatontad-
hundred of a kind
also abbreviated in
hec[aton]tad-
hecatosto-
hundredth
hecatostaio-
the hundredth day
shata–
120 viginticenti-
hecaton(e)icosi- hecaton(e)icosakis- etc. hecatostoeicosto-
150
sesquicenten-[am]
200 ducenti- ducen-, bicenten- ducentesim- diacosia- diacosakis- etc. diacosiosto-
250
semiquincenten-[an]
300 trecenti- trecen-, tercenten-, tricenten- trecentesim- triacosia- etc. triacosakis-
triacosaplo-
triacosad-
triacosiosto-
400 quadringenti- quadringen-, quatercenten-, quadricenten- quadringentesim- tetracosia- tetracosakis- etc. tetracosiosto-
500 quingent-,[51] quincent-[52] quingen-,[53] quingenten-, quincenten- quingentesim-[54] pentacosia- pentacosakis- etc. pentacosiosto-
600 sescenti-, sexcenti- sescen-, sexcenten- sescentesim- hexacosia- hexacosakis- etc. hexacosiosto-
700 septingenti- septingen-, septingenten-, septcenten- septingentesim- heptacosia- heptacosakis- etc. heptacosiosto-
800 octingenti- octingen-, octingenten-, octocenten- octingentesim- octacosia- octacosakis- etc. octacosiosto-
900 nongenti- nongen- nongentesim- ennacosi-[55]
derived from
en(n)iacosia-,
a pejoration of
enneacosia-
enneacosakis- etc. enacosiost-,[56]
alt. spelling
en(n)iacosiost(o)-
a pejoration of
enneacosiosto-
1000 milli- millen- millesim- khili-,[57] kilo- khiliakis-
khiliaplo-
chiliad-
chiliost-[58] sahasra–
2000 duomilli
diskhili-[59] diskhiliakis- etc. diskhiliosto-
3000 tremilli- triskhili-[60]
triskhiliost-[61]
5000 quinmilli– pentaciskhili-[62]
10000 decamilli– myria-,[63][ao] decakiskhilia- myriakis-
myriaplo-
myriad-
decakiskhiliakis- etc.
myriast-,[64]
decakiskhiliosto-
ayuta–
80000 octogintmilli– octacismyri-[65]
100000
or
105
centimilli– decakismyria-, hecatontakiskhilia- decakismyriakis-,
hecatontakiskhiliakis-
etc. laksha–
1000000
or
106
hecatommyria-
(see also mega-)
hecatommyriakis-
("a million times")
hecatommyriaplo-
(million-multiple)
hecatommyriad-
(a million of a kind)
hecatommyriosto-
(ranked millionth;
also one piece of
a million [fraction] see above in
fractions)

hecatommyriostaio-
("the millionth day")
infini-
apeiro-
Few pauci-[ap]
oligo-[aq]
Many
(more than 1)
multi-, pluri-[ar]
poly-[as] pollakis- (many times)
pollaplo- (multiple)
plethos- (many of a kind)[at]
pollosto-
(rank/order of many [manieth])
bahut–
Examples
  1. ^ e.g. hemisphere
  2. ^ e.g. universe, unilateral
  3. ^ e.g. solo, soliloquy
  4. ^ e.g. monogamy
  5. ^ e.g. holocaust, holography
  6. ^ e.g. proton, protozoa
  7. ^ e.g. quasquicentennial
  8. ^ e.g. sesquicentennial, sesquipedalian
  9. ^ e.g. bireme, bilingual, bipolar, bipartisan
  10. ^ e.g. Deuteron/ium, Deuteronomy
  11. ^ e.g. semiquincentennial
  12. ^ e.g. trireme
  13. ^ e.g. triathlon, Tripolis
  14. ^ e.g. Triton/ium
  15. ^ e.g. tetrahedron
  16. ^ e.g. pentahedron
  17. ^ e.g. hexahedron
  18. ^ e.g. September
  19. ^ e.g. heptathlon
  20. ^ e.g. hebdomas
  21. ^ e.g. October
  22. ^ e.g. octopus
  23. ^ e.g. octahedron
  24. ^ e.g. November
  25. ^ e.g. December
  26. ^ e.g. decathlon, decahedron, decagon
  27. ^ e.g. duodenum
  28. ^ e.g. dodecahedron
  29. ^ e.g. triskaidekaphobia
  30. ^ e.g. tetradecahedron/
    decatetrahedron
  31. ^ e.g. (e)icosahedron
  32. ^ e.g. docosa-hexaenoic acid (a pejoration of dyoicosa-hexanoic)
  33. ^ e.g. (e)icositetragon
  34. ^ e.g. eicosapenta-enoic acid
  35. ^ e.g. triacontahedron
  36. ^ e.g. penteconter
  37. ^ e.g. pentecost
  38. ^ e.g. Septuagint
  39. ^ e.g. sesquicentennial
  40. ^ e.g. semiquincentennial
  41. ^ e.g. myriapoda
  42. ^ e.g. pauciparous
  43. ^ e.g. oligopoly, oligarchy, oligomer, oligonucleotide, oligopeptide, oligosaccharide
  44. ^ e.g. multilingual, multiple, pluripotent, pluricentric
  45. ^ e.g. polyhedra, polygamy, polypod, polyglot, polymath, polymer
  46. ^ e.g. plethora

Occurrences

Because of the common inheritance of Greek and Latin roots across the Romance languages, the import of much of that derived vocabulary into non-Romance languages (such as into English via Norman French), and the borrowing of 19th and 20th century coinages into many languages, the same numerical prefixes occur in many languages.

Numerical prefixes are not restricted to denoting integers. Some of the SI prefixes denote negative powers of 10, i.e. division by a multiple of 10 rather than multiplication by it. Several common-use numerical prefixes denote vulgar fractions.

Words containing non-technical numerical prefixes are usually not hyphenated. This is not an absolute rule, however, and there are exceptions (for example: quarter-deck occurs in addition to quarterdeck). There are no exceptions for words comprising technical numerical prefixes, though. Systematic names and words comprising SI prefixes and binary prefixes are not hyphenated, by definition.

Nonetheless, for clarity, dictionaries list numerical prefixes in hyphenated form, to distinguish the prefixes from words with the same spellings (such as duo- and duo).

Several technical numerical prefixes are not derived from words for numbers. (mega- is not derived from a number word, for example.) Similarly, some are only derived from words for numbers inasmuch as they are word play. (Peta- is word play on penta-, for example. See its etymology for details.)

The root language of a numerical prefix need not be related to the root language of the word that it prefixes. Some words comprising numerical prefixes are hybrid words.

In certain classes of systematic names, there are a few other exceptions to the rule of using Greek-derived numerical prefixes. The IUPAC nomenclature of organic chemistry, for example, uses the numerical prefixes derived from Greek, except for the prefix for 9 (as mentioned) and the prefixes from 1 to 4 (meth-, eth-, prop-, and but-), which are not derived from words for numbers. These prefixes were invented by the IUPAC, deriving them from the pre-existing names for several compounds that it was intended to preserve in the new system: methane (via methyl, which is in turn from the Greek word for wine), ethane (from ethyl coined by Justus von Liebig in 1834), propane (from propionic, which is in turn from pro- and the Greek word for fat), and butane (from butyl, which is in turn from butyric, which is in turn from the Latin word for butter).

Cardinal Latin series

Distributive Latin series

Greek series

Mixed language series

See also

Notes

  1. ^ These months' prefixes originated in a conjectured, pre-historical Roman 10 month calendar. See Roman Calendar.
  2. ^ a b See Mendeleev's predicted elements for the most common use of Sanskrit numerical prefixes.
  3. ^ The numbering adjectives in Greek are inflectional for grammatical gender (i.e. there is monos [masculine for single/alone], mone [feminine for single/alone] and monon [neuter for single/alone]), grammatical case (i.e. nominative, genitive, etc.) and grammatical number (singular/plural). The prefixes are produced from the default grammatical type (masculine/nominative/singular).
  4. ^ Demi- is French, from Latin dimidium.
  5. ^ sol (sōlus) is more appropriately a Latin root for "only", "oneself".
  6. ^ sim- (sin-) is found in the words simplex, simple.
  7. ^ a b The Greek prefix for 'one' is normally mono- 'alone'. Hen- 'one' is only used in compound numbers (hendeka- 11) and a few words like henad (= monad). Haplo- 'single' is found is a few technical words such as haploid.
  8. ^ a b The forms related to quattuor "four", like the previous three integers, are irregular in Latin and other Indo-European languages, and the details, while presumably a form of assimilation, are unclear.[11] In particular, quadri- has the alternate form quadru- before p in some Latin words, such as quadruple.
  9. ^ Sometimes Greek hexa- is used in Latin compounds, such as hexadecimal, due to taboo avoidance with the English word sex.
  10. ^ For Latinate 21, 22, etc., the pattern for the teens is followed: unvigint-, duovigint-, etc. For higher numbers, the reverse order may be found: 36 is trigintisex-. For Greek, the word kai ("and") is used: icosikaihena-, icosikaidi-, pentacontakaipenta-, etc. In these and in the tens, the kai is frequently omitted, though not in triskaidekaphobia. (The inconsistency of triskaidekaphobia with the table above is explained by the fact that the Greek letter kappa can be transliterated either "c" or "k".) In chemical nomenclature, 11 is generally mixed Latin-Greek undeca-, and the 20s are based on -cos-, for example tricos- for 23.
  11. ^ In organic chemistry, most prefixes are Greek but the prefixes for 9 and 11 are Latin.

References

  1. ^ uncia. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  2. ^ πρῶτος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  3. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "एक-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  4. ^ δύο
  5. ^ δίς
  6. ^ δεύτερος
  7. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "द्वि-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  8. ^ τρίς
  9. ^ τρίτος
  10. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "त्रि-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  11. ^ Sihler, Andrew. New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin. p. 412.
    Buck, Carl Darling. Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin.
  12. ^ "quăter". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  13. ^ "quăterni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  14. ^ "quartus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  15. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "चतुर्-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  16. ^ "quinque". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  17. ^ "quīni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  18. ^ "quintus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  19. ^ πέμπτος
  20. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "पञ्च-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  21. ^ "sēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  22. ^ "sextus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  23. ^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "ἕξ". A Greek-English Lexicon. Archived from the original on 23 December 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2022 – via perseus.tufts.edu.
  24. ^ ἕκτος[dead link]
  25. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "षट्-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  26. ^ "septēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  27. ^ ἑπτά
  28. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). "सप्त-". A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 685239912.
  29. ^ "octōni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  30. ^ "octāvus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  31. ^ ἐννέα
  32. ^ ἔνατος
  33. ^ "dēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  34. ^ "dĕcĭmus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  35. ^ δέκα
  36. ^ δέκατος
  37. ^ "undēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  38. ^ "undĕcĭmus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  39. ^ ἕνδεκα
  40. ^ ἑνδέκατος
  41. ^ δώδεκα
  42. ^ δωδέκατος
  43. ^ "quindĕcim". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  44. ^ "quindēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  45. ^ "quindĕcĭmus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  46. ^ "sēdĕcim". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  47. ^ "quinquāginta". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  48. ^ "quinquāgēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  49. ^ "quinquāgēsĭmus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  50. ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles. "S". septĭfārĭam, septŭāgēsimus. A Latin Dictionary. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2019 – via perseus.tufts.edu.
  51. ^ "quingenti". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  52. ^ "quincenti". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  53. ^ "quingēni". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  54. ^ "quingentēsĭmus". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  55. ^ ἐννακόσιοι
  56. ^ ἐνακοσιοστός
  57. ^ χίλιοι
  58. ^ χιλιοστός
  59. ^ δισχίλιοι
  60. ^ τρισχίλιοι
  61. ^ τρισχιλιοστός
  62. ^ πεντακισχίλιοι
  63. ^ μυρίος
  64. ^ μυριαστός
  65. ^ ὀκτακισμύριοι

Bibliography