Skip Navigation

6.2: More Words with Dis-

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
Turn In

More Words with Dis-

1. Knowing what you know now about the prefix dis-, sort out the following words as directed:

\begin{align*}&\text{disorder} && \text{disks} && \text{disuse} && \text{discontinue} && \text{discover}\\ & \text{disband} && \text{dishonor} && \text{discolor} && \text{discard} && \text{disease}\end{align*}

Words that Contain the Prefix dis-
disorder disuse discard
disband discolor discover
dishonor discontinue disease

The word that does not contain the prefix dis- is disks.

Most words that start out <dis> do contain the prefix dis-!

2. There are two dis- words that deserve a special word: display and disaster.

\begin{align*}\bullet\end{align*} Display contains the prefix dis- and the stem play, but the play in display is not the same as the play in playground or “Play ball!” The play in display comes from a Latin word that meant “to fold.” Display originally meant “to fold out” – as when a Roman cloth merchant would display his goods. Our other word play didn't come from Latin at all. It came from German.

\begin{align*}\bullet\end{align*} At first you might not recognize the dis- prefix in the word disaster because the free stem you are left with seems odd: disaster = dis + aster . An aster is a flower, and what can flowers have to do with disasters? The word aster comes from a Latin word that meant “star.” The flowers are called asters because they are star-shaped. You can see part of that Latin word for “star” in words like astronomy, astrology, and astronaut.

So, what do disasters have to do with stars? The Romans believed that our future was told in the stars. They had a word for a time when the stars foretold a bad future: disastrato, “ill-starred.” If something was ill-starred, it was sure to be a disaster. So that is what flowers and stars and disasters have in common in our spelling.

Word Squares

This Word Squares contains sixteen words that all start with the prefix dis- and one that does not. Don't let the long ones scare you.

\begin{align*}&\text{Six letters}: && \text{Eight letters}: && \text{Nine Letters}: && \text{Eleven letters}:\\ &\text{disarm}\surd && \text{diseased}\surd && \text{disgraced} \surd && \text{discontinue}\surd\\ &\text{disked}\surd && \text{disaster}\surd && \text {discovers}\surd && \text{distrusting}\surd\\ &\text{disown}\surd && \text{disarray}\surd && \text{dishonest}\surd\\ & && &&\text{discounts}\surd && \text{Twelve letters}:\\ &\text{Seven letters}: && && &&\text{disinfectant}\surd\\ &\text{disavow}\surd && && \text{Ten letters}: && \text{disadvantage}\surd\\ & && && \text{disservice}\surd && \text{dissatisfied}\surd\end{align*}

The word that does not contain dis- is disked.

Teaching Notes.

Item 1. The statement that most words that start with <dis> contain the prefix dis- is a good and strong one. But it can be a bit hard to recognize at times, especially when the prefix is added to a bound stem. Sometimes the dis- is used simply as an intensifier, rather the way we use the adverb very. For instance, in disturb the bound base turb carries the root meaning “confuse, disorder,” and the dis- simply intensifies that meaning. The meaning of dis- that was described in the previous lesson as “reversal, opposite” often is more like “apart”: Discuss has the root meaning “shake apart”; dispute has the meaning “count or consider apart”; dissolve has “loosen apart.”

Item 2. Astronomy, astrology, astronaut analyze into astr+o+log+y (roughly, “speech about the stars”), astr+o+nom+y (roughly, “laws of the stars”), and astr+o+naut (“star sailor”).

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

Show Hide Details
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
Files can only be attached to the latest version of section
Please wait...
Please wait...
Image Detail
Sizes: Medium | Original