Over 60 per cent of all English words have Greek or Latin origin. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure of words originating from Greek or Latin rises to over 90 per cent.
This means many English words have parts (prefixes, infixes or suffixes) with Latin or Greek origin while others are borrowed from Latin or Greek and directly used in English.
This makes English language a very rich language as well as giving learners and speakers of the language bigger chances to come to the meaning of certain words so easily.
Knowing one word can help you know several other words by relating prefixes, suffixes or infixes.
One of the Latin words used in English is ‘sub’. It is mostly used as a prefix at the beginning of a word to explain the last part of the word.
The word ‘sub’ is a Latin word which literally means ‘under or below’. This is why the English word ‘submarine’ means ‘underwater warship’ because ‘sub’ means ‘under’ and ‘marine’ means ‘water or seas’ (from the Latin word ‘marinus’).
By knowing that the Latin word ‘sub’ generally means ‘under or below’, you can figure out that ‘substandard’ mean ‘under or below the set standard for something’.
The same applies to sub-Saharan, subway, subsection and many more
Although ‘sub’ means below or under, it can also be used in English to mean ‘quality of something being slightly near to the original quality’ for example in words such as suburb which means a place that is nearly urban as Kabuga is a suburb of Kigali City.
Other words in this category include subtropical, sub-Saharan, etcetera.
You can also notice that the prefix sub is used to mean ‘secondary’ such as in ‘subeditor’, subheading, subsection, subtotal, subordinate, substitute and many more.
In chemistry, the prefix is used to indicate that an element is present in relatively small proportions.
When a compound is described as sub oxide , there is little oxidisation in the compound. But the basic meaning of ‘sub’ in English words is ‘under or below’.