Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (2023)

I’ve been teaching prefixes for many years to help my students increase their English vocabulary. I used my experience and some extra research to write this detailed study of how to use Over and Under as Prefixes.

Over and Under as prefixes

Over is used as a prefix to mean excessively or too much
“The airport said my suitcase is overweight.” – it weighs too much.
Under is used as a prefix to mean below or not enough
“This steak is undercooked.” – it is not cooked enough.

Over– prefix = excessively or too much
overweight– weigh too much (adjective)
overconfident– be excessively [too] confident (adjective)
overeat– eat too much (verb)
Under– prefix = below or not enough
underwater– below the surface of the water (adjective)
undercooked– not cooked enough (adjective)
underqualified– not having enough qualifications (adjective)

Over and Under as prefixes (Use the...

Over and Under as prefixes (Use them to increase your vocabulary!)

Table of Contents

  • Over as a prefix
  • Under as a prefix
  • 20 more examples with definitions
  • Over and Under as prefixes Video
  • FREE 8-page PDF download

Do you know what aprefixis? A prefix is: a letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a word to change its meaning, such asun-inunhappyandpre-inpreheat

OVER as a Prefix

The prefix over can be added to verbs, nouns, and adjectives to show that something is too much or it was done more than we need.
overcook (verb) to cook something too much
overachiever (noun) someone who tries too hard to be successful at work
overrated (adjective) rated too high

If your luggage istoo heavywhen you weigh it at the airport, your bags areoverweight. (Overweight is anadjective.)

Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (1)

If you eat too much at a buffet and now your stomach hurts,it may be because youoverate. (Overate is the past tense of theverbovereat.)

Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (2)

Both these words (overweight – overeat) show that something istoo muchor was donetoo much.

Let me give you a few more examples of how we use these words in natural sentences.

  • “I can’t believe my team lost the league championship after we played such a great season. I guess we thought the final would be easy so we wereoverconfident.”
    = excessively (too) confident
  • “Some people have actually died fromoverwork! Remember to keep time in your life for fun too!”

Overwork is a noun in this sentence. Overwork can also be a verb.

  • “Work hard but be careful not tooverwork.”

OVER can also mean COMPLETELY or totally

  • “I wasoverjoyedwhen I found out that I won a free vacation!” = completely happy

Did you know? Verbs have a Past Participle form that can be used as an adjective. Learn more at my post: Use Past Participles The Right Way (25 examples + PDF list)

UNDER as a Prefix

The prefix under can be added to verbs, nouns, and adjectives to show that something is below a certain level or it is not enough for our needs
undercook (verb) to not cook something enough
undergraduate (noun) a first-level university student
underhanded (adjective) secret and dishonest

You may already know some common words that use this prefix.


Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (3)


These words talk about a position or location, they meanbelowground andbelowthe surface of the water.

Let me give you a few more examples of how we use UNDER as a prefix where the meaning is NOT ENOUGH

“I’m gonna send this hamburger back. It’sundercooked.” =notcookedenough
(Undercookedis anadjective.)

Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (4)

Increase your vocabulary with the suffix ~ OUS

“Peter applied for a new job but he wasunderqualified.” = Peter doesn’t have enough qualifications for this job
(Underqualifiedis anadjective.)

“I think that Batman vs Superman was a good movie. It’sunderratedin my opinion.” I think it’s not rated high enough. People are unfairly​ judging the movie (in my opinion)


Some people who work very hard at their job but feel like they don’t get enough money might say:

  • “I’m overworked and underpaid.”

– both of these words areadjectives.

Over and Under as Prefixes (30 Examples – Video – Free PDF) (5)

20 more examples of words with the prefixes OVER and UNDER

Definitions fromhttps://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

I chose 10 words for each prefix, but there are hundreds to choose from. For this list, I have chosen words that I have used, heard, or read in the news recently.

The websiteThe Free Dictionary dot comhas a much longer list if you would like to take a look. (Links at the bottom of each list.)

10 words with the prefix OVER (+ 1)

overdo– to do too much (verb)
My back is really sore today. I think Ioverdidit at the gym yesterday.

overdone– done too much (adjective)
This steak isoverdone. (= cooked too much)

oversee– to watch somebody/something and make sure that a job or an activity is done correctly (verb)
The architectoversawthe building of the model house.

overlook– to fail to see or notice something (verbX3)
We should notoverlookthis possibility.

overlook– to see something wrong or bad but decide to ignore it
I canoverlookyour mistakes this time but please be more careful in the future.

overlook– if a building, etc. overlooks a place, you can see that place from the building
My wife and I had dinner at a great restaurantoverlookingthe ocean.

overachiever– a person who tries too hard to be successful in their work (noun)
Spencer comes in early and works overtime every day. He is such anoverachiever.

overbearing– ​trying to control other people in an unpleasant way (adjective)
I feel bad for Ken. His mother is reallyoverbearing.

overhaul– an examination of a machine or system, including doing repairs on it or making changes to it (noun)
I’m going to do anoverhaulof my entire website.

overhaul– to examine every part of a machine, system, etc. and make any necessary changes or repairs (verb)
We need tooverhaulthe car’s engine. It’s gonna be expensive.

override– to use your authority to reject somebody’s decision, order, etc. (verbX3)
The chairmanoverrodethe committee’s objections and signed the agreement.

override– to be more important than something
Safety concernsoverrideall other issues.

override– to interrupt the action of a device that usually works by itself in order to control it yourself
I had tooverridemy computer after I forgot my password.

overcharge– to make somebody pay too much for something (verb)
It’s a popular nightclub but they willoverchargeyou on the drinks if you don’t watch the bartenders carefully.

overturn– overturn something to officially decide that a legal decision, etc. is not correct, and to make it no longer legally recognized (verb)
The verdict wasoverturnedby the appeal court.


10 words with the prefix UNDER

undergo– to experience something, especially a change or something unpleasant (verb)
– New COVID-19 vaccines are currentlyundergoingtrials in Asia.

underway– ​having started (adjective)
New vaccine trials areunderway.

undertake– to make yourself responsible for something and start doing it (verb)
This task has beenundertakenby a group of new employees.

underhanded– secret and dishonest (adjective)
Too many leaders and business owners are involved inunderhandeddeals.

underprivileged– having less money and fewer opportunities than most people in society (adjective)
We need more programs in place to support theunderprivilegedin our society.

underlying– important in a situation but not always easily noticed or stated clearly (adjective)
Unemployment may be anunderlyingcause of the rising crime rate.

undermine– to make something, especially somebody’s confidence or authority, gradually weaker or less effective (verb)
Budget cuts haveunderminedour efforts to vaccinate more people.

undergraduate– a university or college student who is studying for their first degree *This is commonly shortened to undergrad. (noun)
I teach language communication toundergradsat university.

underdog– a person, team, country, etc. that is thought to be in a weaker position than others and therefore not likely to be successful, win a competition, etc. (noun)
In politics, he was a champion of theunderdog(= always fought for the rights of weaker people).

underage– done by people who are too young by law (adjective)
The police shut down the party due to all theunderagedrinking.


Over and Under as prefixes PDF E-guide (free!)

Over and Under E-guide

Do you know any other words that use the prefixesoverorunder? Write them in the comments.

Keep growing your English vocabulary with Prefixes and Suffixes! Find more great posts right HERE >> Prefixes – Suffixes


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