David Recine

Magoosh Comics: Prefixes de-, dis-, and inter-

The TOEFL throws a lot of academic vocabulary at test-takers. There will always be some words on the exam that you don’t know or are not sure of. But sometimes, just knowing the meaning of a part of a word is enough to guess the gist of an unfamiliar word; the basic sense of the word.

When it comes to guessing at the sense or possible meaning of a word, prefixes are valuable word parts to know. A prefix is a word-part that appears at the beginning of a word and colors its meaning in some way.

Below are some comic strips that show prefixes. To help you practice the skill of guessing meaning through context, I haven’t put the definitions of the prefixes in the comics. But see if you can guess the definitions of the prefixes… or at least guess the gist. At the bottom of this post, I’ll list the prefix meanings so that you can check your guesses.

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OK, now here are the meanings of these prefixes:

  • de- to get rid of something or reduce it to a smaller quantity
  • dis– the opposite of
  • inter- meeting or making contact



  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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