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It's allowed in English to prefix words with "mid-" when we are talking about middle of something: mid-fall (mid-autumn), mid-1920s, mid-year, mid-week, mid-2016.

Are there similar prefixes to refer beginning and end of something? What are actually the shortest (possibly informal) ways to say, for example, the beginning of the year 2016 and the end of the year 2016?

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The shortest ways that I can think of are

start of 2016 (3 words)
the beginning of the year 2016

year-end 2016 (2 words)
the end of the year 2016

For prefixes

neonatal
newly born

Neolithic
New Stone Age

perimortem
near death, but the context for "end" is given by "mortem"
peri- means around

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  • As I understand, I cannot shorten the beginning of and the ending of to some hyphened prefixes/suffixes: beg-2016, 2016-end, can I?
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:27
  • @Sasha - You cannot use "beg-"; nobody would understand that. "2016-end" is more understandable, although I would not say it's usual.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:40
  • Prefixes and suffixes don't seem to be specific to "beginning" and "ending", it always involves some understanding of what you're trying to say, there are prefixes for "before"="pre","ante" (preholiday); "after"="post" (postholiday); "between"="intra","peri" (intraholiday)
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:42
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    @Sasha You might say as shorthand "start-2016", "end-2016" which would be understandable.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:44
  • I understand about pre, inter, semi, quasi, etc. But I'm interested only about beginning and end, not others. It's good that I can say start-2016 and end-2016 (they line up with mid-2016 much better than non-prefix variants).
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:50

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