Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Inter- and Intra-

Inter- vs Intra-”

“Inter-” and “intra-” are two prefixes which are commonly used in the English language. They sound similar, but when used with other words form words which are very different from each other. These two prefixes cannot be used in place of one another. One should be careful while using “inter-” and “intra-” as they can change the meaning of the word altogether.

Prefix intra-
Intra- means “within” or “inside.” When used as a prefix with words, it means “within a group.” There are many words which are formed with the prefix intra- for example, intracompany, intranet, intramural football, etc. There are many medical terms which also use the prefix intra- for example, intravenous, intracranial, etc.

Each of the words mentioned above refers to an act which represents something happening within a group or within a particular object or thing. For example, “intracranial” means “inside or within the skull.” Here only the skull is considered and nothing else. “Intravenous” means “within the veins.” Here the word also represents something only within one particular type of thing, in this case a vein. Similarly, “intracompany” refers to “within a company.” It could be a transfer or something else or a transfer from one department to another. “Intraschool” means “within the same school,” different teams of the same school playing against each other. In science, a species and its relationship with each other is differentiated by “intraspecies” or “interspecies.” For example, an “intraspecies” relation means the relationship between members of the same species whereas an “interspecies” means the relationship between members of separate species.

Prefix inter-
The prefix inter- is used for forming words which mean “between two groups.” Inter- itself indicates the meaning “between.” Many words are formed by using this prefix like “interschool,” which means “between two schools,” “inter-university,” which means “between two universities.” “Interschool” can be used for interschool competitions between schools or academics between two separate schools. “Interuniversity” also refers to “competition between different universities” whether in sports or academics or the transfer of someone from one university to another.

“Inter-” can be used in both ways, for forming words with a hyphen as well as for forming words without a hyphen. For example, a word with a hyphen, inter-America, or words without a hyphen, Internet, intersection, etc.

As mentioned above, it is very important to understand the meaning and usage of these two prefixes before using them. They can change the meaning of the word completely and can cause confusion.


1.Intra- means “within” or “inside”; inter- means “between.”
2.The prefix intra- is used to form words which mean “within a single group”; the prefix inter- is used for forming words which mean “between two groups.”

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  1. Awesome explanation!

  2. Very clear explanation. Thankyou

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