(assimilated as dif- before -f-, to di- before most voiced consonants), word-forming element meaning 1. "lack of, not" (e.g. dishonest); 2. "do the opposite of" (e.g. disallow); 3. "apart, away" (e.g. discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly," from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (cf. Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-).
The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain."
In classical Latin, dis- paralelled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for new compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not").
In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.
Absence of; opposite of: disorientation.
Undo; do the opposite of: dislocate.
Deprive of; remove: dismember.
(also diss; on may be added) To show disrespect; insult by slighting; CAP ON someone: The boys on the bus were dissing that girl/ Yet ''dissin','' showing real or apparent disrespect, is cited as the motive in an amazing number of murders/ I'm tired of John dissin' on her all the time (1980s+ Black teenagers)
A drill instructor; noncommissioned officer in charge of recruits (1913+ Marine Corps)