Inseparable Particle Compounds

Summary of Inseparable Particle Compounds

Inseparable particle compounds, as distinguished from prepositional compounds, are verbal prefixes which cannot appear as independent prepositions.

  • Prepositional compounds (ad-, dē-, inter, etc.) are also prepositions: ad, dē, inter
  • Inseparable particle compounds (see below) do not appear as prepositions.
  • From what I can tell, there are many nouns and adjectives featuring these particle compounds, but they are all derived from corresponding verbs (ambigō –> ambiguus, -a, um, hybrid, uncertain, fluctating; dīvidō –> dīvīsiō, -ōnis; division; etc.)

Some Particle Compound Examples

amb-, am-, an- : around (cf. Greek ἀμφί)

  • ambiō, ambīre, ambīvī, ambītum : to go around
  • ambigō, ambigere [no perfect or supine] : to wander, hesitate

dis-, dī- : asunder (cf. duo)

  • discēdo, discēdere, discessī, discessum : to depart
  • dīvidō, dīvidere, dīvīsī, dīvīsum : to divide

por- : forward (cf. porrō, forward)

  • portendō, portendere, portendī, portentum : to hold forth, predict

red-, re- : back, again

  • redeō, redīre, rediī, reditum : to return
  • reclūdō, reclūdere, reclūdsī, reclusum : to open
  • reficiō, reficere, refēcī, refectum : to repair (i.e. to make again)

sēd-, sē- : apart

  • sēcernō, sēcernere, sēcrēvī, sēcrētum : to separate, distinguish
  • sēparō, sēparāre, sēparāvī, sēparātum : to separate

The Essential AG: 267b

Famous Phrase: dīvīde et impera [divide and dominate]

  • A maxim of Julius Caesar, and the basis of our own ‘divide and conquer’ (passed on through Machiavelli, who used the same Latin phrases in his own political manuals)

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