indeclinable prep. & pref


As prep. anu is only found occasionally, and here its old (Vedic) function with acc. is superseded by the loc. Traces of use w. acc. may be seen in expressions of time like anu pañcāhaṃ by 5 days, i.e. after (every), 5 days (cp. ved. anu dyūn day by day); a. vassaṃ for one year or yearly; a. saṃvaccharaṃ id b. More freq. w loc. (= alongside, with, by) a. tīre by the bank SN.iv.177 pathe by the way Ja.v.302; pariveṇiyaṃ in every cell Vin.i.80; magge along the road Ja.v.201; vāte with the wind Ja.ii.382.

B. As prefix

  1. General character. anu is freq. as modifying (directional) element with well-defined meaning (“along”), as such also as 1st component of pref
    ■ compounds e.g. anu + ā (anvā˚), anu + pra (anuppa˚), + pari, vi, + saṃ
    ■ As base, i.e. 2nd part of a pref
    ■ cpd. it is rare and only found in combination sam-anu˚. The prefix saṃ is its nearest relation as modifying pref. The opp. of anu is paṭi and both are often found in one cpd. (cp. ˚loma ˚vāta).
  2. Meanings.
    1. With verbs of motion: “along towards”

      1. the motion viewed from the front backward = after, behind; esp. with verbs denoting to go follow etc. E.g. ˚aya going after, connexion; ˚āgacch follow, ˚kkamati follow, ˚dhāvati run after, ˚patta received ˚parivattati move about after, ˚bandhati run after, ˚bala rear-guard, ˚bhāsati speak after, repeat, ˚vāda speaking after, blame, ˚vicarati roam about ˚viloketi look round after (survey), ˚saṃcarati proceed around etc
      2. the motion viewed from the back forward = for, towards an aim, on to, over to, forward. Esp. in double pref
        ■ cpds (esp. with ˚ppa˚), e.g. anu-ādisati design for, dedicate ˚kankhin longing for, ˚cintana care for, ˚tiṭṭhati look after ˚padinna given over to, ˚pavecchati hand over, ˚paviṭṭha entered into, ˚pasaṃkamati go up to, ˚rodati cry for, ˚socati mourn for
    2. With verbs denoting a state or condition:

      1. literal: along, at, to, combined with. Often resembling E. be-or Ger. be-, also Lat. ad-and con-Thus often transitiving or simply emphatic. E.g. ˚kampā *com-*passion, ˚kiṇṇa be-set, ˚gaṇhāti take pity on, ˚gāyati be-singen, ˚jagghati laugh at, belaugh, ˚ddaya pity with ˚masati touch at, ˚yuñjati order along, ˚yoga devotion to, ˚rakkhati be-guard, ˚litta be-smeared or *an-*ointed, ˚vitakheti reflect over, ˚sara con-sequential; etc
      2. applied: according to, in conformity with. E.g. ˚kūla being to will ˚chavika befitting, ˚ñāta permitted, *al-*lowed, ˚mati con- sent, *a-*greement, ˚madati ap-preciate, ˚rūpa = con-form ˚vattin acting according to, ˚ssavana by hearsay, ˚sāsati ad-vise, com-mand etc
      1. (fig.) following after second to, secondary, supplementary, inferior, minor, after smaller; e.g. ˚dhamma lesser morality, ˚pabbajā discipleship ˚pavattaka ruling after, ˚bhāga after -share, ˚majjha mediocre, ˚yāgin assisting in sacrifice, ˚vyañjana smaller marks, etc.; cp. paṭi in same sense
      2. distributive (cp. A. a.) each, every, one by one, (one after one): ˚disā in each direction, ˚pañcāhaṃ every 5 days, ˚pubba one after the other
    3. As one of the contrasting (-comparative) prefixes (see remarks on ati & cp. ā3) anu often occurs in reduplicative compounds after the style of khuddânukhuddaka “small and still smaller”, i.e. all sorts of small items or whatever is small or insignificant. More freq. combns. are the foll.: (q.v. under each heading padânupadaṃ, pubbânupubbaka, ponkhânuponkhaṃ, buddhânubuddha vādânuvāda, seṭṭhânuseṭṭhi

    4. As regards dialectical differences in meanings of prefixes, anu is freq found in Pāli where the Sk. variant presents apa (for ava), abhi or ava. For P. anu = Sk. (Ved.) apa see anuddhasta; = Sk. abhi see anu-gijjhati, ˚brūheti, ˚sandahati; = Sk. ava see anu-kantati, ˚kassati2, ˚kiṇṇa ˚gāhati, ˚bujjhati ˚bodha, ˚lokin, ˚vajja.


  1. anu in compn. is always contracted to -ānu˚; never elided like adhi = ˚dhi or abhi = ˚bhi. The rigid character of this rule accounts for forms isolated out of this sort of epds. (like mahānubhāva), like ānupubbikathā (fr. *pubbānupubba˚), ānubhāva etc. We find ānu also in combn. with an-under the influence of metre
  2. the assimilation (contracted) form of anu before vowels is anv˚.

Vedic anu, Av. anu; Gr. α ̓́νω to α ̓́να along, up; Av. ana, Goth. ana, Ohg. ana, Ags. on, Ger an, Lat. an (in anhelare etc.)


adjective subtile; freq. spelling for aṇu, e.g. DN.i.223 Sdhp.271, Sdhp.346 (anuṃ thūlaṃ). See aṇu.