a proceeding, measure, or provision by which one prepares for something: preparations for a journey.
any proceeding, experience, or the like considered as a mode of preparing for the future.
an act of preparing.
the state of being prepared.
something prepared, manufactured, or compounded: a special preparation for sunbathers.
a specimen, as an animal body, prepared for scientific examination, dissection, etc.
the preparing of a dissonance, by introducing the dissonant tone as a consonant tone in the preceding chord.
the tone so introduced.
New Testament. the day before the sabbath or a feast day.
British. work done by students in preparation for class; homework.
the Preparation, the introductory prayers of the Mass or other divine service.

1350–1400; Middle English preparacion < Latin praeparātiōn- (stem of praeparātiō), a preparing, equivalent to praeparāt(us) (past participle of praeparāre to prepare) + -iōn- -ion

nonpreparation, noun
prepreparation, noun
self-preparation, noun
superpreparation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
preparation (ˌprɛpəˈreɪʃən)
1.  the act or process of preparing
2.  the state of being prepared; readiness
3.  (often plural) a measure done in order to prepare for something; provision: to make preparations for something
4.  something that is prepared, esp a medicinal formulation
5.  esp in a boarding school
 a.  homework
 b.  Usually shortened to: prep the period reserved for this
6.  music
 a.  the anticipation of a dissonance so that the note producing it in one chord is first heard in the preceding chord as a consonance
 b.  a note so employed
7.  (often capital) the preliminary prayers at Mass or divine service

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1390, "act of preparing," from L. præparationem (nom. præparatio) "a making ready," from præparatus, pp. of præparare "prepare," from præ- "before" + parare "make ready" (see pare). Meaning "a substance especially prepared" is from 1646. Verb prepare
is attested from 1466, from M.Fr. preparer, from L. præparare; slang shortening prep is from 1927. Preparatory is first recorded 1413, from L.L. præparatorius, from L. præparatus. Applied from 1822 to junior schools in which pupils are "prepared" for a higher school.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

preparation prep·a·ra·tion (prěp'ə-rā'shən)
A substance, such as a medicine, prepared for a particular purpose.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
New models for teacher preparation are thinking outside the box.
Once again, thoughtful preparation and practice are the keys to giving an
  excellent presentation.
The author is grateful to all those who helped with the survey's preparation.
In preparation for routine scientific operations, their long-term stability was
  verified by conducting a first trial survey.
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