What is the difference between prefixes об and по. For example облизать and полизать.


1 Answer 1


Roughly said, об- means '[centered] around' and по- means 'along [and then to somewhere else]'. The difference is also in cases for adverbial complement - not always but quite often, e. g.

Дети облазили чердак. = The kids have investigated all the loft through.

Я обдумаю это. = I'll think about this.

Она обделала порог. = She shat around [all] the threshold.

Дети полазали на чердаке. = The kids has been investigating the loft [for a while].

Я подумаю об этом. = I'll think about this [and then I'll shift to some other topic].

Он поделал порог. = He's been making a threshold [for a while and then he switched to some other activity].

Sometimes the difference is that об- refers to a non-literal meaning, while по- indicates the action as it is, thus making the meaning entirely different, e. g.

Я обрёл смысл. = I've found [the supreme] meaning [of/in smth]. NB: the об- is regarded by some researchers as a part of the stem, but the stem actually is a historical cognate of Lithuanian ràsti and surė̃sti (acc. to Fasmer).

Я побрёл своим путём. = I wended my way along.

Дым обволок кострище. = The smoke coated the fireplace.

Волк поволок ягнёнка в тёмный лес. = A wolf was taking a lamb into a dark forest.

Дела обстоят хорошо. = The things / the circumstances are OK.

Они постоят и пойдут. = They'll stand there for a while and then they'll part.

Hence, the difference between облизать and полизать will be as follows:

Котёнок облизал сметану. = The kitten has licked [all the] sour creme [around].

Котёнок полизал сметану. = The kitten has licked some sour creme [for a while and then switched to some other activity].

  • В слове "обрести" приставки нет.
    – V.V.
    Apr 14, 2017 at 14:53
  • Не установлено.
    – Manjusri
    Apr 14, 2017 at 16:57
  • В таком случае можно дать однокоренные слова? Дайте хоть одно.
    – V.V.
    Apr 14, 2017 at 21:57
  • Pls see the post above after the mark NB regarding the Lithuanian cognates.
    – Manjusri
    Apr 14, 2017 at 22:14

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