Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Without; not: amoral.
  • On; in: abed.
  • In the act of: aborning.
  • In the direction of: astern.
  • In a specified state or condition: abuzz.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • forming verbs with the sense away, up, on, out
  • forming verbs with the sense of intensified action.
  • Not, without, opposite of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various sources. (1) It frequently signifies on or in (from an, a forms of AS. on), denoting a state, as in afoot, on foot, abed, amiss, asleep, aground, aloft, away (AS. onweg), and analogically, ablaze, atremble, etc. (2) AS. of off, from, as in adown (AS. ofdūne off the dun or hill). (3) AS. ā- (Goth. us-, ur-, Ger. er-), usually giving an intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away, on, back, as in arise, abide, ago. (4) Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the AS. inseparable particle ge-, cognate with OHG. ga-, gi-, Goth. ga-), which, as a prefix, made no essential addition to the meaning, as in aware. (5) French à (L. ad to), as in abase, achieve. (6) L. a, ab, abs, from, as in avert. (7) Greek insep. prefix α without, or privative, not, as in abyss, atheist; akin to E. un-.

Etymologies

Greek; see ne in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old English, from an, on; see on.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English a- ("up, out, away"), from Old English ā-, originally *ar-, *or-, from Proto-Germanic *uz- (“out-”), from Proto-Indo-European *uds- (“up, out”). Cognate with Old Saxon ā-, German er-. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English variant form of y-, from Old English ġe-, from Proto-Germanic *ga-. (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman a-, from Old French e-, from Latin ex-. (Wiktionary)
From Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-) (ἀν- (an-) immediately preceding a vowel). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Middle French a-, from Latin ad ("to"). (Wiktionary)
From Latin ab ("from, away") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • At a hearing on the budget this week, led by by the scandal-plagued Chairman of the City Council, Kwame Brown, best known for demanding a "fully loaded" $1900- a- month leased SUV from city officials, activists challenged his opposition to raising taxes, the deadlocked council's complacency, and the council leadership that has ignored public opinion favoring preserving social programs.

    Art Levine: GOP-Style Democrats Slash DC Budget: Homeless Moms Already Given Bus Tokens, Not Shelter

  • So get your sweet a-, um, self over here so the rest of us can chow down.

    Risk No Secrets

  • Another 1,500 in-the-money calls were purchased up at the Jan. 2012 $13 strike at an average premium of $1.32 a-pop.

    Forbes.com: News

  • A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-" of Sagicor Life Inc.

  • A.M. Best also has revised the outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the FSRs of A- Excellent and ICR of "a-" of Sagicor General Insurance Inc.

  • Never write a check with your mouth you can't cash with your a-$$!

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • I'd rather have Oh bomb a- nation for four more years.

    ABC News: Top Stories

  • Traders sold around 5,000 puts at the Jan. 2013 $17.5 strike at an average premium of $1.42 each, purchased around the same number of calls up at the Jan. 2013 $25 strike for an average premium of $3.67 per contract, and sold some 5,000 calls at the Jan. 2013 $30 strike at an average premium of $1.97 a-pop.

    Forbes.com: News

  • A.M. Best Co. has placed under review with negative implications the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of "a-" of General Fidelity Life Insurance Company (GFLIC) (Columbia, SC).

  • It looks like the investor sold 2,000 puts at the Dec. $40 strike for a premium of $1.45 each, purchased 2,000 calls up at the Dec. $45 strike for a premium of $2.28 per contract, and sold 4,000 puts at the Dec. $50 strike at a premium of $0.75 a-pop.

    Forbes.com: News

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Comments

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  • to i.e. in the direction of

    October 15, 2010