from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- Without; not: amoral.
- On; in: abed.
- In the act of: aborning.
- In the direction of: astern.
- In a specified state or condition: abuzz.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- forming verbs with the sense away, up, on, out
- forming verbs with the sense of intensified action.
- Not, without, opposite of.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various sources. (1) It frequently signifies on or in (from an, a forms of AS. on), denoting a state, as in afoot, on foot, abed, amiss, asleep, aground, aloft, away (AS. onweg), and analogically, ablaze, atremble, etc. (2) AS. of off, from, as in adown (AS. ofdūne off the dun or hill). (3) AS. ā- (Goth. us-, ur-, Ger. er-), usually giving an intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away, on, back, as in arise, abide, ago. (4) Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the AS. inseparable particle ge-, cognate with OHG. ga-, gi-, Goth. ga-), which, as a prefix, made no essential addition to the meaning, as in aware. (5) French à (L. ad to), as in abase, achieve. (6) L. a, ab, abs, from, as in avert. (7) Greek insep. prefix α without, or privative, not, as in abyss, atheist; akin to E. un-.
Greek; see ne in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old English, from an, on; see on.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English a- ("up, out, away"), from Old English ā-, originally *ar-, *or-, from Proto-Germanic *uz- (“out-”), from Proto-Indo-European *uds- (“up, out”). Cognate with Old Saxon ā-, German er-. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English variant form of y-, from Old English ġe-, from Proto-Germanic *ga-. (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman a-, from Old French e-, from Latin ex-. (Wiktionary)
From Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-) (ἀν- (an-) immediately preceding a vowel). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Middle French a-, from Latin ad ("to"). (Wiktionary)
From Latin ab ("from, away") (Wiktionary)