word-forming element expressing direction toward or in addition to, from Latin ad "to, toward" in space or time; "with regard to, in relation to," as a prefix, sometimes merely emphatic, from PIE *ad- "to, near, at" (cognate with Old Englishæt; see at). Simplified to a- before sc-, sp- and st-; modified to ac- before many consonants and then re-spelled af-, ag-,al-, etc., in conformity with the following consonant (as in affection, aggression). In Old French, reduced to a- in all cases (an evolution already underway in Merovingian Latin), but written forms in French were refashioned after Latin in 14c. and English did likewise 15c. in words it had picked up from Old French. In many cases pronunciation followed the shift.