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pre-

1.
a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “before” (preclude; prevent); applied freely as a prefix, with the meanings “prior to,” “in advance of,” “early,” “beforehand,” “before,” “in front of,” and with other figurative meanings (preschool; prewar; prepay; preoral; prefrontal).
Also, prae-.
Origin
< Latin prae-, prefixal use of prae (preposition and adv.); akin to first, fore, prior, pro1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pre-

pre-

prefix
1.
before in time, rank, order, position, etc: predate, pre-eminent, premeditation, prefrontal, preschool
Word Origin
from Latin prae-, from prae before, beforehand, in front
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pre-

word-forming element meaning "before," from Old French pre- and Medieval Latin pre-, both from Latin prae (adverb and preposition) "before in time or place," from PIE *peri- (cf. Oscan prai, Umbrian pre, Sanskrit pare "thereupon," Greek parai "at," Gaulish are- "at, before," Lithuanian pre "at," Old Church Slavonic pri "at," Gothic faura, Old English fore "before"), extended form of root *per- (1) "beyond" (see per).

The Latin word was active in forming verbs. Also cf. prae-. Sometimes in Middle English muddled with words in pro- or per-.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pre- in Medicine

pre- pref.

  1. Earlier; before; prior to: prenatal.

  2. Anterior; in front of: preaxial.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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