How Do You Use the Prefix Extra-? (Learn with real examples)

Understanding common English prefixes is a great way to quickly increase your vocabulary. In this post, you will learn some common words made with the prefix extra-.

  • extramarital
  • extraneous
  • extraordinaire
  • extraordinarily
  • extraordinary
  • extrasensory
  • extrasolar
  • extraterrestrial
  • extravagance
  • extravagant
  • extravagantly
  • extravaganza
  • extravert

Find the words, read their definitions, and see them used in natural examples. I also included some common compound words that use extra at the end of this post. Keep reading.

The Meaning Of The Word Extra 

The word extra can be an adjective, an adverb, or a noun. Please read the definitions and examples sentences below.

extra adjective​  more than is usual, expected, or than exists already

SYNONYM additional

  • We had some extra money so we decided to take a cruise to the Bahamas.

extra adve​rb in addition; more than is usual, expected, or exists already

  • The cruise doesn’t charge extra for the live performances and deck parties. Those are included in the regular fee.
  • The cruise includes all your regular meals but we need to pay extra if you want to enjoy fine dining at the captain’s restaurant.
  • I usually earn a bit extra in December. Customers tip more during the holidays.

extra noun 1. a thing that is added to something that is not usual, standard, or necessary and that costs more

  • Make sure you read the cruise package information well. Sometimes there are hidden extras that you didn’t expect. Those added fees can ruin a fun trip.

2. a person who is employed to play a very small part in a film, usually as a member of a crowd

  • Before I became a stuntman I made money and got film experience working as an extra. There were many movies and TV shows filming in Toronto when I started.
My first job was as an extra on a cruise ship. I was a passenger.

Extra Word Origin
mid 17th cent. (as an adjective): probably a shortening of extraordinary, suggested by similar forms in French and German. SOURCE

The Prefix Extra- Meaning

The prefix extra- can be used to show that something is outside another thing OR it can mean more than is expected.

extra– prefix (in adjectives)

1. ​outside; beyond

  • Benson was accused of an extramarital affair. He denied everything. 

2. ​(informal) very; more than usual

  • Tonight’s dinner was extraordinary. You are an amazing cook, thanks for inviting us over. 

Prefix Origin
via medieval Latin from Latin extra ‘outside’. SOURCE

Types of Extra- Prefixes

In this blog post, I’m going to make 2 types of word lists that begin with extra-

#1 is what I call a True Prefix. This means that the word that comes after the prefix extra- (the root word) can be used by itself. For example:

marital
adjective
connected with marriage or with the relationship between a married coupleextra + marital
happening outside marriage
ordinarily
adverb
in a normal wayextra + ordinarily
in a way that is unexpected

#2 is a word that takes its meaning from the prefix extra- but the root is not a word that can be used by itself. For example:

extraneous adjectivenot directly connected with the particular situation you are in -neous is not a word
extravaganza
noun
a large, expensive, and impressive event-vaganza is not a word

You will also find a list of compound words that use extra at the end of this post.

As always, I chose words that are commonly used by native speakers in English conversation.

The Prefix Extra- Clear Root Words

extracurricularadjective
not part of the usual course of work or studies at a school or college

  • Having many extracurricular activities looks great on a University application. 
  • Many high school students say that their extracurricular activities really helped them as they became adults and started working full-time jobs. 

*I included this word in the true prefix of extra- section. Curricular is an adjective that means relating to a school’s curriculum but it’s very very rare to hear the word curricular used in conversation. (In my lifetime as an English speaker, I have never used or heard this word even once.)

Curricular is a real word that is listed in the dictionary so I included it here. Extracurricular is a common word that is most often paired with the plural noun activities

extramaritaladjective
happening outside marriage

  • Benson was accused of an extramarital affair. He denied everything.
  • We often see celebrities in the news being exposed for their extramarital activities.

extraordinaireadjective
(from French, approving, often humorous)

​used after nouns to say that somebody is a good example of a particular kind of person

  • Let me introduce you to my wife, my best friend, my life partner, and a Chef extraordinaire
You are a true chef extraordinaire!

extraordinarilyadverb
1. ​in a way that is unexpected, surprising or strange

  • I find Beth and Charlie’s relationship to be extraordinarily toxic. They’re always angry and fighting. I don’t know why they stay together.

2. ​in a way that is more, greater or better than usual

  • That exam was extraordinarily difficult. I think I passed but that test was much harder than I expected. 
  • I’m so proud of the whole team today, you all played extraordinarily well in tonight’s game and you should be proud. 

Idiom with ‘Extra’
Go the extra mile – to make a special effort to achieve something, help somebody, etc.
SOURCE

  • Jacob is a hard worker who always goes the extra mile. I think the company should promote him and give him a raise.

extraordinaryadjective
unexpected, surprising or strange

SYNONYM incredible

  • I can’t recommend that restaurant enough. The staff are very professional and the food is extraordinary

extrasensory perception – adjective (noun phrase)
The ability to know things without using the senses of sight, hearing, etc., for example to know what people are thinking or what will happen in the future

*Extrasensory perception is most often written as ESP. (You may have seen or heard it before.)

  • The TV show is about a woman with ESP who helps the police solve crimes.
  • Many people have claimed to have ESP but they have all failed to demonstrate it under testing conditions. 
She used a crystal ball to channel her ESP.

extrasolaradjective

(of a planet, etc.) located outside our solar system

  • Scientists have found an extrasolar planet whose conditions are very similar to Earth’s. A planet like this may potentially have life. 

Have you ever heard of the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial? Have you seen it? It is a popular movie from 1982. I recommend the movie if you have never seen it. Watch the trailer below!

extraterrestrialadjective
connected with life existing outside the planet Earth

  • It’s amazing to think about another planet outside our solar system with extraterrestrial life on it. 
  • I watched a movie last night about an extraterrestrial monster that fell to Earth and destroyed a city. It was scary. 

extraterrestrialnoun
(in stories) a creature that comes from another planet; a creature that may exist on another planet

  • If you met an extraterrestrial and you could communicate with it, what would you say? What would you ask it? 

The Prefix Extra- Prefix With No Clear Root Word

extraditeverb

​extradite somebody (to…) (from…) to officially send back somebody who has been accused or found guilty of a crime to the country where the crime was committed

  • The court has allowed the suspects to be extradited to the country where the crimes were committed. 

extraditionnoun [uncountable, countable]

​the act of officially sending back somebody who has been accused or found guilty of a crime to the country where the crime was committed

  • The suspect escaped and traveled to a non-extradition country.
    This means a country that does not have an agreement with another country to send back anyone who has been accused of a crime there. 
  • The fugitive is fighting extradition back to his home country. 

extraneousadjective
not directly connected with the particular situation you are in or the subject you are dealing with

SYNONYM irrelevant

  • Newspaper headlines should be clear and not include any extraneous words that are not necessary. 
  • Negotiations failed after one side kept adding extraneous issues to the deal.

extravagancenoun
[uncountable] the act or habit of spending more money than you can afford or than is necessary

  • The country’s president had a difficult time trying to explain his extravagance while many of his citizens are very poor. Some don’t have enough food to eat. 
  •  Ryan was a simple man but he had one extravagance, he loved expensive watches and owned a collection of them. 
Fine watches are his only extravagance.

extravagantadjective
spending a lot more money or using a lot more of something than you can afford or than is necessary

  • For many women, an extravagant wedding is not necessary. A small ceremony with close friends and family is enough to make them happy. 
  • Penelope stunned everyone at the party when she arrived in an extravagant Chanel dress.

extravagantlyadverb
in a way that involves spending a lot more money or using a lot more of something than you can afford or than is necessary

  • Even after his promotion and a higher salary, Brendan doesn’t live too extravagantly. He has always enjoyed the simple things in life. 

extravaganzanoun
a large, expensive, and impressive event

  • There’s going to be a huge fashion extravaganza at my University next week. This is so exciting, I can’t wait. 
  • The city is having its annual two-day family extravaganza in the park next month. 

extravertnoun
a lively and confident person who enjoys being with other people

  • Dennis has always been an extravert, he has never had trouble making new friends or talking with new people. 

*Note – this word is sometimes spelled extrovert

  • Dennis has always been an extrovert, he has never had trouble making new friends or talking with new people. 

The opposite of an extravert is an introvert

introvert noun
​a quiet person who is more interested in their own thoughts and feelings than in spending time with other people

  • Dennis’ sister Grace is just the opposite. She is shy and doesn’t like to be in big groups, she is a real introvert.

Learn more helpful prefixes and grow your English vocabulary at my post here >>The Prefix RE – 60 examples (Definitions, Free PDF, Video)

EXTRA- for Size Adjectives

We add the word extra before the clothing sizes small and large to emphasize that the size is VERY small or VERY large. We often see these sizes written on clothing labels as XL or XS

XL = extra large

  • My friend Oscar is really big. If I want to buy him a sweater for Christmas I always choose an extra large

XS = extra small

  • Allison is very tiny. When she goes shopping for new clothes she always tries on an extra small, and it usually fits.
Does this hoodie come in extra large?

Extra large is also used with egg sizes.

Learn 14 Idioms with EGG at my blog post here >> WorldEnglishBlog.com/idioms-with-eggs

Extra is also used in other compound words describing size, condition, and power, often joined by a hyphen (-)

Extra-firm – more firm than usual

  • Whenever I book a hotel room I always asked for a bed with an extra-firm mattress. I can’t sleep well if the mattress is too soft. 

Extra-long – longer than usual

  • We ordered an extra-long shower curtain for the bathroom. 

Extra-strength – stronger than usual 

  • My headache is really bad, I think I need to take some extra strength pain reliever tablets and lay down for a while. 

Extra-thin – thinner than usual

  • The drug store is now selling extra-thin condoms. I’m not sure that I trust them. 

Extra-wide – wider than usual

  • Lance needs to buy extra-wide shoes or his feet get very sore after walking for just a short time. 

(I don’t hear the opposite – extra narrow)

Compound Words With Extra

extra time noun [uncountable] (sport)

​a set period of time that is added to the end of a sports game, etc., if there is no winner at the end of the normal period

  • The score was still tied after 90 minutes so the game went into extra time.

(North American English overtime)

  • The score was tied at the end of regulation time so the game went into overtime

extra virgin adjective

used to describe good quality oil obtained the first time that olives are pressed

  • Good chefs only cook with extra virgin olive oil, nothing else will do.
This restaurant buys extra virgin olive oil direct from Italy.

If you can think of any words with this prefix that I left out, please tell me in the comments!

Thanks to The Free Dictionary by Farlex for the example list.

Find more GREAT Prefix/Suffix posts below!

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