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un-1 OE. un- = OS. (LG.), (O)HG., Goth. un-, (M)Du. on-, ON. ú-, ó-, corr. to OIr. in-, an-, L. in- IN-2, Gr. an-, a- A-4, AN-2, Skr. an-, a- :- IE. *n-, gradation-var. of *ne not. This prefix, expressing negation or contradiction, has been most frequently used with ppls. and adjs., but there has been restriction with short simple adjs. (e.g. unbold, unglad, unstrong), there being usu. available simple forms with opposite positive meanings; unclean, uneven, unmild, untrue, unwise, etc. are of OE. date, while unable, undue, uneasy, unjust, unsafe are notable exx. of comps. with adjs. of alien origin. On the other hand derivs. from adjs. in -able, -al, -ant, -ar, -ary, -ent, -ful, -ible, -ic(al), -ish, -ive, -ous, -y are very numerous. Formations with ppls. appear freely from OE. times onwards. There are several comps. in common use of which the simplex is now obs. or rare, as unfailing, unfeeling, ungainly, unruly, unspeakable, unwieldy. Participles with pendent particles are freely used, e.g. uncalled-for, unreferred-to, unthought-of.

There are many parallel formations with IN2, esp. in the earlier periods, e.g. inconstant, immeasurable, insatiable, beside unconstant, unmeasurable, unsatiable.