1640s, from Latin praefixum, noun use of neuter past participle of praefigere "fix in front, fasten on before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + root of figere "to fasten, fix" (from PIE root *dheigw- "to stick, fix").
early 15c., "appoint beforehand," from Middle French prefixer, from pre- "before" (see pre-) + fixer (see fix (v.)). Meaning "to place at the beginning" is from 1530s; of words or parts of words from c. 1600. Related: Prefixed; prefixing.
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