Quick Summary

Some prefixes highly emphasize roots of words to which they are attached. These prefixes can effectively be translated as “thoroughly” to highlight their intensive function. For instance, the prefix re-, which can mean “back” or “again,” can also mean “thoroughly,” such as in the word resplendent, or “thoroughly” shining or bright.

Intense Prefixes

Some prefixes highly emphasize roots of words to which they are attached, and are known as intensive prefixes. These prefixes can effectively be translated as “thoroughly” to highlight their intensive function. Today we will talk about the prefixes re- and de-, which can both act as intensive prefixes.

The prefix re-, which can mean “back” or “again,” can also mean “thoroughly” when it acts as an intensive. For instance, the word resplendent means “thoroughly” shining or bright. If the word were “splendent,” it would simply mean “shining;” adding the intensive prefix re- onto “splendent” transforms the root “shine” into “thoroughly” shining, or “very” bright.

Let’s take a look at a couple more examples using the intensive prefix re-. When a person is reticent, she is “thoroughly” silent because she is unwilling to share information about something. A musician’s repertoire is that list of music which he has “thoroughly” produced. And what do you do when you show a great deal of resolve? You “thoroughly” loosen or untie yourself toward the completion of a goal that you have set.

A second example of an intensive is the prefix de-. While de- can mean “off” or “from,” it can also be used as an intensive, again usefully translated as “thoroughly.” For instance, when a fruit becomes desiccated, it has become “thoroughly” dried out. When you make a declaration, you make something “thoroughly” clear so that no one can mistake your meaning. A desolate person is “thoroughly” alone or lonely, whereas a desolate place is “thoroughly” remote, that is, by itself. When you demonstrate the effectiveness of something, you “thoroughly” show it. A deluge can “thoroughly” wash or bathe the land with all the rain that comes with it. And a depraved criminal? He is evil “through and through,” or “thoroughly” evil.

Prefixes, when they act as intensives, emphasize and heighten the force of the primary meanings of words. Strive to recognize intensive prefixes, and you will “thoroughly” improve your vocabulary prowess!

  1. resplendent: ‘thoroughly’ shining
  2. reticent: ‘thoroughly’ silent
  3. repertoire: music ‘thoroughly’ learned
  4. resolve: ‘thoroughly’ loosen or untie
  5. desiccated: ‘thoroughly’ dried out
  6. declare: make ‘thoroughly’ clear
  7. desolate: ‘thoroughly’ alone, lonely, or remote
  8. demonstrate: ‘thoroughly’ show
  9. deluge: ‘thoroughly’ washes or bathes
  10. depraved: ‘thoroughly’ evil


  • resplendent

    People or things that are resplendent are beautiful, bright, and impressive in appearance.

  • irresolute

    Someone who is irresolute is unable to decide what to do.

  • redolent

    If something is redolent of something else, it has features that make you think of it.

  • reticent

    People who are reticent are unwilling to share information, especially about themselves, their thoughts, or their feelings.

  • recondite

    Recondite areas of knowledge are those that are very difficult to understand and/or are not known by many people.

  • repertoire

    A musician's or dramatist's repertoire is their ready stock or range of pieces that they are able to perform.

  • replete

    Stores that are replete with goods to sell are well-stocked and completely supplied to satisfy many customers.

  • resolve

    When you resolve a problem, you solve it or come to a decision about it.

  • reverent

    When you are reverent, you show a great deal of respect, admiration, or even awe for someone or something.

  • restraint

    When someone has restraint, they show self-control or self-discipline, which provides limits to what they do.

  • refined

    Someone who is refined is sophisticated, cultured, and polished.

  • research

    When you research something, you study or find out about it in order to learn information about it, including both known—and new—facts and ideas.

  • required

    Something that is required has to be done or is necessary.

  • reliable

    Someone who is reliable can be trusted to do what they say they are going to do.

  • request

    When you request something, you ask for it, usually in a polite manner.

  • resource

    A resource is something that you can use to help you do something, such as wood to build a house or sunlight and wind to create energy.

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