Entries linking to uncollected
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (source of Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), combining form of PIE root *ne- "not." Often euphemistic (such as untruth for "lie").
The most prolific of English prefixes, freely and widely used in Old English, where it forms more than 1,000 compounds. It underwent a mass extinction in early Middle English, but emerged with renewed vigor 16c. to form compounds with native and imported words. It disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- (1) the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.), and though both might be deployed in cooperation to indicate shades of meaning (unfamous/infamous), typically they are not.
It also makes words from phrases (such as uncalled-for, c. 1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but the habit is not restricted to un-; such as put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegramese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is attested by 1936.
early 15c., "gather into one place or group" (transitive), from Old French collecter "to collect" (late 14c.), from Latin collectus, past participle of colligere "gather together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see com-) + legere "to gather," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather."
The intransitive sense "gather together, accumulate" is attested from 1794. Related: Collected; collecting. As an adjective or adverb meaning "paid by the recipient," it is attested from 1893, originally with reference to telegrams.
updated on February 25, 2014
uncollected garbage in the streets