word-forming element, used from mid-19c. (first in Eocene) in compound words formed by earth-scientists, and meaning "characterized by the earliest appearance of," from Greek ēōs "dawn, morning, daybreak," also the name of the goddess of the morning, from PIE root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn. Piltdown Man, before exposed as a fraud, was known as Eoanthropus.
word-forming element of Latin origin meaning "half," also loosely, "part, partly; partial, almost; imperfect; twice," from Latin semi- "half" (before vowels often sem-, sometimes further reduced to se- before m-), from PIE *semi- "half" (source also of Sanskrit sami "half," Greek hēmi- "half," Old English sam-, Gothic sami- "half").
The Old English cognate, sam-, was used in such compounds as samhal "in poor health, weakly," literally "half-whole;" samsoden "half-cooked" ('half-sodden'), figuratively "stupid" (compare half-baked); samcucu "half-dead," etymologically "half-alive" (see quick (adj.)); and the lingering survivor, sandblind "dim-sighted" (q.v.).
The Latin element was common in formations from Late Latin, as in semi-gravis "half-drunk," semi-hora "half hour," semi-mortuus "half-dead," semi-nudus "half-naked," semi-vir "half-man, hermaphrodite."
The Latin-derived form in English has been active in forming native words since 15c. Semi-bousi "half-drunk" ('semi-boozy'), now obsolete, was among the earliest (c. 1400). As a noun, semi has variously been short for semi-detached house (by 1912), semi-trailer (by 1942), semi-final (by 1942).
initial consonant combination used in Old English (the Clark Hall dictionary has 82 entries under cn-), but not now admitted in speech, the n- only being sounded. In Middle English spelling all were lost or turned to kn-. It also is retained in the spelling of some Latinized words from Greek, where initial kn- was common.
word-forming element meaning "pressure," from Greek piezein "to press tight, squeeze," from PIE *pisedyo- "to sit upon" (source also of Sanskrit pidayati "presses, oppresses"), from *pi "on," short for *epi (see epi-) + root *sed- (1) "to sit." First in piezometer (1820), an instrument for ascertaining or testing pressure. It was in common use in word formation from c. 1900.
in Latin, the form of com- "together, with" in compounds with stems beginning in vowels, h-, and gn-; see com-. Taken in English from 17c. as a living prefix meaning "together, mutually, in common," and used promiscuously with native words (co-worker) and Latin-derived words not beginning with vowels (codependent), including some already having it (co-conspirator).
before vowels, gluc-, word-forming element used since c. 1880s, a later form of glyco-, from Greek glykys "sweet," figuratively "delightful; dear; simple, silly," from *glku-, a dissimilation in Greek from PIE root *dlk-u- "sweet" (source also of Latin dulcis). De Vaan writes that "It is likely that we are dealing with a common borrowing from an unknown source." Now usually with reference to glucose.
introduced 1947 (at 14th conference of the Union Internationale de Chimie) as a prefix for units of one thousand-millionth part (now "one-billionth"), from Greek nanos "a dwarf." According to Watkins, this is originally "little old man," from nannos "uncle," masc. of nanna "aunt" (see nana), but Beekes calls it "An onomatopoeic word of unknown origin." Earlier nano- was used as a prefix to mean "dwarf, dwarfish," and still it is used in a non-scientific sense of "very small."
word-forming element meaning "around, round about, all around, on all sides," from Latin adverb and preposition circum "around, round about," literally "in a circle," probably accusative form of circus "ring" (see circus). The Latin word was commonly used in word-formation. In French, the element became circon-; Kitchin points out that con for cum is common even in classical Latin. For sense development, compare German rings "around."