1 [prep-uh-zish-uhn]
noun Grammar.
any member of a class of words found in many languages that are used before nouns, pronouns, or other substantives to form phrases functioning as modifiers of verbs, nouns, or adjectives, and that typically express a spatial, temporal, or other relationship, as in, on, by, to, since.

1350–1400; Middle English preposicioun < Latin praepositiōn- (stem of praepositiō) a putting before, a prefix, preposition. See pre-, position

prepositional, adjective
prepositionally, adverb
nonprepositional, adjective
nonprepositionally, adverb
quasi-prepositional, adjective
quasi-prepositionally, adverb

The often heard but misleading “rule” that a sentence should not end with a preposition is transferred from Latin, where it is an accurate description of practice. But English grammar is different from Latin grammar, and the rule does not fit English. In speech, the final preposition is normal and idiomatic, especially in questions: What are we waiting for? Where did he come from? You didn't tell me which floor you worked on. In writing, the problem of placing the preposition arises most when a sentence ends with a relative clause in which the relative pronoun (that; whom; which; whomever; whichever; whomsoever) is the object of a preposition. In edited writing, especially more formal writing, when a pronoun other than that introduces a final relative clause, the preposition usually precedes its object: He abandoned the project to which he had devoted his whole life. I finally telephoned the representative with whom I had been corresponding. If the pronoun is that, which cannot be preceded by a preposition, or if the pronoun is omitted, then the preposition must occur at the end: The librarian found the books that the child had scribbled in. There is the woman he spoke of. Unabridged


2 [pree-puh-zish-uhn]
verb (used with object)
to position in advance or beforehand: to preposition troops in anticipated trouble spots.
Also, pre-position.

1960–65; pre- + position Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
preposition (ˌprɛpəˈzɪʃən)
prep a word or group of words used before a noun or pronoun to relate it grammatically or semantically to some other constituent of a sentence
[C14: from Latin praepositiō a putting before, from pōnere to place]
usage  The practice of ending a sentence with a preposition (Venice is a place I should like to go to) was formerly regarded as incorrect, but is now acceptable and is the preferred form in many contexts

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

1388, from L. præpositionem (nom. præpositio) "a putting before," from præpositus, pp. of præponere "put before," from præ- "before" + ponere "put, set, place" (see position). In grammatical sense, a loan-translation of Gk. prothesis, lit. "a setting before."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

preposition definition

A part of speech that indicates the relationship, often spatial, of one word to another. For example, “She paused at the gate”; “This tomato is ripe for picking”; and “They talked the matter over head to head.” Some common prepositions are at, by, for, from, in, into, on, to, and with.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The sentence-ending preposition rule is an invented bit of silliness rightly
  ignored by many excellent publications.
That sentence is grammatically incorrect because it ends with a preposition.
They don't seem to understand that a preposition actually conveys information.
Because he is the subjective case of the third-person male pronoun, it cannot
  be the object of the preposition to.
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