Under and Over – prefixes to expand your vocabulary

‘Over’ and ‘under’ are prepositions, but they can also be prefixes. Add them to the start of other words and they can form new words. Learn the meanings of 22 over- and under- words in this video lesson.


Over and under – they’re prepositions. But they can also be prefixes. Put them in front of other words and they make new words. Let’s start with under. I’ve got two meanings for you. The first one is like the preposition. It means beneath, so below or inside other things.
Heating that’s placed beneath the floor is called underfloor heating.
Trains that operate in the ground beneath streets are underground trains.
Clothes we wear next to our skin, beneath our other clothes, are underclothes or underwear.
We can go swimming or we can go underwater swimming.
Now the second meaning. What does the prefix ‘under’ mean in this word?

Excuse me.
Yes.
This egg is undercooked.
Oh. It looks all right to me.
Are you kidding?
Ah, I see what you mean.

So what does under mean here? It means not enough – not sufficient.
If we don’t have enough insurance then we’re underinsured.
If a company doesn’t have enough workers, then it’s understaffed.
And if a worker doesn’t get paid enough, they’re underpaid.
Great. Now what about over? It’s the opposite of under and again we’ve got two meanings. The first one’s like the preposition. It means above or on top of.
A coat we wear on top of our normal clothes is an overcoat.
When we’re doing dirty work we might wear overalls. They call them coveralls in American English.
If we work more hours than usual – so on top of our normal hours, we work overtime.
OK, ready for the second meaning? What does over mean here?

Hey!
Yes?
This egg is overcooked. I can’t eat this.
There’s no need to overreact.

Overcooked means cooked too long. And overreact means react too strongly, with too much emotion. So over means too much – more than sufficient.

Sorry. I got overemotional.
Yes, you did.

There are some words we can combine with over or under and we get opposite meanings.
A road that passes under another road is an underpass. And a road that passes over another road is an… overpass. We also call it a flyover in British English.
If the price of something is less than its real value, it’s underpriced. And if it’s too expensive and it costs more than it’s worth it’s overpriced.
If you don’t let enough light in when you’re taking a photo, it will be underexposed. And if too much light gets in, it’ll be overexposed.
Some people have too much work to do and they are overworked. And others don’t have enough to do. They’re underworked.
Can you think of any more over- or under- words? Tell us in the comments. If you liked this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. Bye now.

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