A. Prep. and pref. of direction & place:

  1. as direction denoting a movement towards a definite end or goal up to, over, toward, to, on (see C 1a.)
  2. as place where (prep. c. loc. or abs.) = on top of, above, over in; in addition to. Often simply deictic “here” (e.g. ajjhatta = adhi + ātman “this self here” (see C 1b).


adhi is freq. as modification pref., i.e. in loose compn. with n. or v. and as first part of a double prefixcpd, like ajjhā˚ (adhi + ā), adhippa˚ (adhi + pra), but never occurs as a fixed base, i.e. as 2nd part of a pref. cpd., like ā in paccā˚ (prati + ā), paryā˚ (pari + ā) or ava in paryava˚ (pari + ava) or ud in abhyud˚ (abhi ud), samud˚ (sam + ud). As such (i.e. modification) it is usually intensifying, meaning “over above, in addition quite, par excellence, super”-(adhideva a super-god, cp ati-deva), but very often has lost this power & become meaningless (like E. up in “shut up, fill up, join up etc) esp. in double pref
■ compounds (ajjhāvasati “to dwell here-in = āvasati “to dwell in, to inhabit”) (see C 2)
■ In the explains of P. Commentators adhi is often (sometimes far-fetchedly) interpreted by abhibhū “overpowering” see e.g. C. on adhiṭṭhāti & adhiṭṭhita; and by virtue of this intens. meaning we find a close relationship between the prefixes ati, adhi and abhi, all interchanging dialectically so that P. adhi often represents Sk. ati or abhi; thus adhi → ati in adhikusala, ˚kodhita, ˚jeguccha, ˚brahmā adhi → abhi in adhippatthita, ˚pātcti, ˚ppāya, ˚ppeta ˚bādheti, ˚bhū, ˚vāha. Cp. also ati iv.


The main applications of adhi are the foll.:

  1. primary meaning (in verbs & verb derivations): either direction in which or place where, depending on the meaning of the verb determinate, either lit. or fig

    1. where to: adhiyita (adhi + ita) “gone on to or into” = studied ajjhesita (adhi + esita) “wished for”; ˚kata “put to” i.e. commissioned; ˚kāra commission; ˚gacchati “to go on to & reach it” = obtain; ˚gama attainment; ˚gaṇhāti to overtake = surpass, ˚peta (adhi + pra + ita) “gone in to” = meant, understood; ˚pāya sense meaning, intention ˚bhāsati to speak to = address; ˚mutta intent upon ˚vacana “saying in addition” = attribute, metaphor, cp Fr. sur-nom; ˚vāsāna assent, ˚vāseti to dwell in, give in = consent
    2. where: ˚tiṭṭhati (˚ṭṭhāti) to stand by = look after, perform; ˚ṭṭhāna place where; ˚vasati to inhabit; ˚sayana “lying in”, inhabiting.
  2. secondary meaning (as emphatic modification):

    1. with nouns or adjectives: adhi-jeguccha very detestable; ˚matta “in an extreme measure”, ˚pa supreme lord; ˚pacca lordship ˚paññā higher, additional wisdom; ˚vara the very best ˚sīla thorough character or morality
    2. with verbs (in double pref. compounds); adhi + ava: ajjhogāheti plunge into; ajjhoṭhapeti to bring down to (its destination) ˚otthata covered completely; ˚oharati to swallow right down. adhi + ā: ajjhappatta having reached (the end) ajjhapīḷita quite overwhelmed; ˚āvuttha inhabited; ˚ārūhati grown up over; ˚āsaya desire, wish (cp. Ger. n. Anliegen & v. daranliegen).; adhi + upa: ajjhupagacchati to reach obtain; ˚upeti to receive; ˚upekkhati “to look all along over” = to superintend adhi + pra: adhippattheti to long for, to desire.

Note. The contracted (assimilation-)form of adhi before vowels is ajjh- (q.v.).

Vedic adhi; base of demonstr. pron. a˚ + suffix-dhi, corresponding in form to Gr. ε ̓́ν χα “on this” = here, cp ο ̔́χι where, in meaning equal to adv. of direction Gr. δέ (toward) = Ohg. zuo, E. to