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[pree-fig-yer] /priˈfɪg yər/
verb (used with object), prefigured, prefiguring.
to show or represent beforehand by a figure or type; foreshadow.
to picture or represent to oneself beforehand; imagine.
Origin of prefigure
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin praefigūrāre. See pre-, figure (v.)
Related forms
[pree-fig-yer-uh-tiv] /priˈfɪg yər ə tɪv/ (Show IPA),
prefiguratively, adverb
prefigurativeness, noun
prefigurement, noun
unprefigured, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prefigurement
Historical Examples
  • In prefigurement of the Wandering Jew, each day he moved on.

  • If the prefigurement was at any point vague it was none the less arresting.

    Gideon's Band George W. Cable
  • In each of these existences the larva or mask is the prefigurement of the succeeding existence.

    The Insect Jules Michelet
  • It was not quite easy to see why this had been the case—it had not been precisely Peter's own prefigurement.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
British Dictionary definitions for prefigurement


verb (transitive)
to represent or suggest in advance
to imagine or consider beforehand
Derived Forms
prefigurement, noun
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 prefigurement



early 15c., from Late Latin praefigurare "to prefigure," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + figurare "to form, shape," from figura "a shape, form, figure" (see figure (n.)). Related: Prefigured; prefiguring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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