What Does "En" Mean?

"En" can be used in a web address and as a prefix

Professor writing on whiteboard in classroom
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En is a language code which refers to the English language. Specifically, en is used in ISO 639-1. En is the first part of this code and refers to the English language. En is an example of one of 136 two-letter codes used to identify the world's major languages. The use of en is especially useful for sites that are in many languages. En, however, is not necessarily used on sites whose default language is English.

En Used on the Internet

On the Internet En is sometimes used in the first part of a URL (web address).

  • en.wikipedia.org

In this example, en refers to the fact that the page is in English.

Websites that have versions is a variety of languages often use en within the web address to indicate the English version:

  • http://www.dw.com/en/top-stories

This is an example of the German media outlet Deutsche Welle's English version of its site.

There are a number of other codes that are closely related to en for English. These include:

  • en-US: English as it is used in the United States of America. (IETF Language Tag)
  • enm: Middle English (ISO 639-2)
  • ang: Old English (ISO 639-2)
  • eng: English (ISO 639-2)

En as a Prefix in Verbs

The prefix en is taken from Latin as introduced through the French. It is used to change adjectives and nouns into verbs. En can also be used as a prefix in a number of verbs meaning to include, allow or cause to happen, and to hold within:

Entail: to involve or include as part of something.

  • The story entails a complicated plot about a magician and a young lad.

Enable: to empower someone to do something

  • People should be careful not to enable those who do others harm.

Enrich: to make more meaningful

  • Reading books will enrich your life like no other experience. 

Endanger: to put someone or something at risk

  • A number of species are endangered around the world. 

Encourage: to convince others to do something through positive statements 

  • The teacher encouraged her students to read two books a month and keep a journal.

Enclose: to be within an area or to be included with something

  • Enclosed you will find the instructions to complete the task.
  • The park encloses a vast wonderland of natural beauty.

En in Nouns

A number of common nouns begin with en these include:

Engine: the motor of a car

  • Turn on the engine and let's get out of here!

Engineer: a professional who focuses on technological aspects

  • We brought in an engineer to help us design an efficient cooling system.

Enlargement: a picture or other design which has been increased in size

  • You can see from the enlargement of this photo that there are three buildings located in the square.

Endeavor: an ambitious task

  • Despite the difficulties of the endeavor, the explorer continued onward.

En as a Prefix in Adjectives

Adjectives can be formed by adding ing or ed to a verb beginning with en to form an adjective.

Encourage -> Encouraging

  • It's an encouraging situation at the moment.

Enclose -> Enclosed

  • Please find the enclosed check for last month's rent.

En as a Prefix in Medical Terminology

En is also used as a prefix in a number of parts of speech in the field of medicine: 

Endocrine: (adjective) relating to 

  • Understanding the endocrine system is vital to understanding holistic medicine. 

Endocardium: (noun) a lining in the heart

  • The endocardium lines the heart and forms the valves. 

En Quiz

Decide whether en is used as part of a URL, as a code, as part of a noun, or as a prefix of a verb or an adjective: 

  1. You can find information at en.directquotes.com
  2. I'll enclose some money in the next letter I send. 
  3. The encouraged students decided to take their driver's test at the end of the month.
  4. I think we'll have to find a new engineer for the project.
  5. Think of this endeavor as something that will shape your personality.
  6. The book is filed under en-653 on the top shelf. 
  7. The entertaining story kept the children spellbound for two hours. 
  8. I don't want to endanger anyone, but we need to find a way out.


  1. URL 
  2. prefix of a verb
  3. prefix of an adjective
  4. noun
  5. noun
  6. code
  7. prefix of an adjective
  8. prefix of a verb
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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "What Does "En" Mean?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/en-what-does-en-mean-1210157. Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 27). What Does "En" Mean? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/en-what-does-en-mean-1210157 Beare, Kenneth. "What Does "En" Mean?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/en-what-does-en-mean-1210157 (accessed June 4, 2023).