word-forming element generally meaning "outside, external," before vowels ect-, from Latinized form of Greek adverb ektos "outside, out of; free from; exempt" (opposed to entos), used to form compounds in Greek (such as ektomē "a cutting out"); related to Greek ek, ex "out," from PIE *eghs "out" (see ex-).
word-forming element meaning "eating," from Greek phago- "eating, devouring," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share." As in Phagiphany, the name of the Church festival celebrating the miracle of the fishes and loaves.
word-forming element meaning "highest, topmost, at the extremities," before vowels acr-, from Latinized form of Greek akro- "pertaining to an end, extreme," from akros "at the end, at the top, outermost; consummate, excellent" (from PIE *akri-, from root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").
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."
prefix usually meaning "away, opposite, completely," from Old English for-, indicating loss or destruction, but in other cases completion, and used as well with intensive or pejorative force, from Proto-Germanic *fur "before, in" (source also of Old Norse for-, Swedish för-, Dutch ver-, Old High German fir-, German ver-); from PIE *pr-, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, toward, near, against."
In verbs the prefix denotes (a) intensive or completive action or process, or (b) action that miscarries, turns out for the worse, results in failure, or produces adverse or opposite results. In many verbs the prefix exhibits both meanings, and the verbs frequently have secondary and figurative meanings or are synonymous with the simplex. [Middle English Compendium]
Probably originally in Germanic with a sense of "forward, forth," but it spun out complex sense developments in the historical languages. Disused as a word-forming element in Modern English. Ultimately from the same root as fore (adv.). From its use in participles it came to be an intensive prefix of adjectives in Middle English (for example Chaucer's forblak "exceedingly black"), but all these now seem to be obsolete.