Entries linking to unguided
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.
late 14c., "to lead, direct, conduct," from Old French guider "to guide, lead, conduct" (14c.), earlier guier, from Frankish *witan "show the way" or a similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *witanan "to look after, guard, ascribe to, reproach" (source also of German weisen "to show, point out," Old English witan "to reproach," wite "fine, penalty"), from PIE root *weid- "to see." The form of the French word influenced by Old Provençal guidar (n.) "guide, leader," or Italian guidare, both from the same source. Related: Guided; guiding. Guided missile, one capable of altering course in flight, is from 1945.
updated on February 25, 2014