Entries linking to unsanitary
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.
1823, "pertaining to health or hygiene," from French sanitaire (1812), from Latin sanitas "health," from sanus "healthy; sane" (see sane). In reference to menstrual devices, by 1881 (in sanitary towel). In U.S. history the Sanitary Commission, created by the Secretary of War in 1861, provided relief to soldiers and oversaw military lodging and hospitals. Sanitarian is by 1859 as "promoter of, or one versed in, sanitary measures or reforms;" sanitarist in that sense also is by 1859.
updated on February 28, 2014
Dictionary entries near unsanitary