"opposed to materialism or materialistic philosophy," 1878, from a- (3) "not" + materialistic.
prefix meaning "not, without," from Greek a-, an- "not" (the "alpha privative"), from PIE root *ne- "not" (source also of English un-).
In words from Greek, such as abysmal, adamant, amethyst; also partly nativized as a prefix of negation (asexual, amoral, agnostic). The ancient alpha privatum, denoting want or absence.
Greek also had an alpha copulativum, a- or ha-, expressing union or likeness, which is the a- expressing "together" in acolyte, acoustic, Adelphi, etc. It is from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with."
"pertaining to, of the nature of, or characterized by materialism" in any sense, 1829, from materialist + -ic. Related: Materialistically.
updated on September 18, 2022