word-forming element of verbs and nouns from verbs, with a wide range of meaning: "about, around; thoroughly, completely; to make, cause, seem; to provide with; at, on, to, for;" from Old English be- "about, around, on all sides" (the unstressed form of bi "by;" see by (prep.)). The form has remained by- in stressed positions and in some more modern formations (bylaw, bygones, bystander).
The Old English prefix also was used to make transitive verbs and as a privative prefix (as in behead). The sense "on all sides, all about" naturally grew to include intensive uses (as in bespatter "spatter about," therefore "spatter very much," besprinkle, etc.). Be- also can be causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, such as bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s) and betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).
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 from Greek pōgōn "the beard," which is of unexplained origin. Used in Pogonophile (by 1961); pogonophobia (1852).
before vowels quinqu-, word-forming element from classical Latin meaning "five, consisting of or having five," from Latin quinque "five" (by assimilation from PIE root *penkwe- "five").
before vowels coen-, word-forming element meaning "common," from Latinized form of Greek koinos "common, public, shared, general, ordinary," from PIE *kom "beside, near, by, with" (see com-).