Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

demi-

Half; partially.

[Latin dimidius, half.]

Words in demi- have come into English through French and many examples retain a strong French flavour. It is found especially in subject areas that contain much vocabulary derived from French, such as heraldry, fortifications, armour, and costume. It is not a living prefix, its role having almost entirely been taken over by semi-.

In many terms, the prefix means either a half, or something of lesser or reduced size: demilune (French, literally 'half-moon'), a crescent or half-circle, or a thing of this shape; demitasse (French, literally 'half-cup'), a small coffee cup; demisemiquaver, in British music notation, a note having the time value of half a semiquaver, a thirty-second note; demi-pension (French, literally 'half board'), hotel accommodation with bed, breakfast, and one main meal per day.

In others, demi- suggests something of a lesser degree: demigod, a being with partial or lesser divine status; demi-monde (French, literally 'half-world'), in 19th-century France, the class of women considered to be of doubtful social standing and morality.

However, demiurge, a being responsible for the creation of the universe, derives from Greek dēmios, public; demijohn, for the container, is probably from French dame-jeanne 'Lady Jane'.

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