prehistory (s) (noun)
, prehistories (pl)
1. The period of time before human civilization and culture for which there is no documentary evidence: The term prehistory
was coined by Daniel Wilson in 1851 to cover the story of man's development before the appearance of writing.
Prehistory is succeeded by "protohistory", the period where there are some records which must still rely largely on archaeological evidence to give people a coherent account.
2. The occurrences which have lead up to a certain event or phenomenon: Grace was interested in reading more about the prehistory of capitalism, which was important for her class at school.
prehormone (s) (noun)
, prehormones (pl)
A glandular secretory product which has little or no inherent biological potency and is converted peripherally to an active hormone: A prehormone, for example proinsulin, is also called prohormone, the intraglandular precursor of a hormone.
, prejudges; prejudged; prejudging
To form an opinion about something or someone prior to sufficient understanding or knowledge: There were those who complained that certain reporters had prejudged the results of the election.
prejudice (s) (noun)
, prejudices (pl)
A preconceived idea or opinion that has been held before the facts are known: Practices that exclude people of certain races, religions, or nationalities from jobs, schools, or housing are based on the worst kind of prejudices.
; more prejudicial, most prejudicial
1. Concerning a situation which is detrimental or damaging to something or someone: The fact that Susan was addicted to alcohol was certainly prejudicial for her career in teaching.
2. Pertaining to something which shows favour to unjustified sentiments or beliefs: Mrs. Wrong evidently had preconceived or prejudicial ideas when she gave her daughter the job, although Peter, the other applicant, was better qualified for it!
1. Regarding the consumption of nourishment that precedes the beginning of milk flow: Prelacteal feeding of a newborn baby with carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions is to reduce initial weight loss until breast feeding is fully established.
2. Pertaining to the jaw structures of marsupials prior to milk teeth: In her biology class at school, Nancy learned about the prelacteal mouth formation of kangaroos, wombats, and opossums in Australia that are thought to be traces of dentition before the first teeth appear.
prelate (s) (noun)
, prelates (pl)
A high-ranking clergyman having authority over lower members of the holy orders: A prelate is normally a bishop, cardinal, or abbot and such a position is in both Catholic and Protestant religions.
Referring to something which is prior to the main or most important part of something: The teachers did preliminary brainstorming on the topic which was to be presented in the staff conference the following week.
preliminary (s) (noun)
, preliminaries (pl)
1. Something that precedes, prepares, or introduces the main action, matter, or business: The medical check-ups were a preliminary for Peter's application to become a policeman.
2. A contest in sports to determine the finalists in a competition: There were about ten teams competing in the preliminaries before the last contestants could be determined.
3. A minor contest that is prior to the main event: The preliminaries for the boxing competition took place before the more important and last tournament the following day.
4. An academic test that takes place before a more significant, extensive, and usually more complex examination is required: As a candidate for her degree in medicine, Joan first had to take the preliminaries in certain subjects.
; more prelingual, most prelingual
Referring to something or someone that is present or occurs before the acquisition of language and speech: Little Ivy is prelingual in that she is only 8 months old and hasn't yet acquired the method of forming words!
prelude (PREL yood", PRAY lood", PREE lood) (s) (noun)
, preludes (pl)
1. A preliminary performance or activity that takes place before introducing one of more importance; a preface to a literary work: Douglas, the author, asked a fellow writer if he would write the prelude
for Mildred's new book.
2. In music, a piece that is performed before the introduction to a musical presentation, especially such a movement preceding a fugue or forming the first piece of a suite: Johann Sebastian Bach wrote some of the most beautiful preludes
Brian had ever heard.
When Tracy went to the opera, she had just a minute or two to read the program before the orchestra played the prelude.
The performance by the school choir was the prelude to the president of the school board's speech on music in the schools.
3. Etymology: from Middle French prélude
, "notes sung" or "played to test a voice or instrument" (1532); from Middle Latin preludium
, "prelude, preliminary"; from Latin præludere
, "to play beforehand for practice, to preface"; from præ-
, "before" + ludere
, "to play".
, preludes; preluded; preluding
1. To introduce an event, especially that which is longer and more important: The dark clouds are preluding
a severe storm.
A good education and proper training are preluding Jim to a good career.
2. To introduce a piece of music prior to a bigger composition: The pianist preluded
Wilhelm Richard Wagner's opera with a short Frédéric François Chopin presentation.
3. Etymology: from Latin praeludere
, "to play before"; from pre-
,"before" + ludere
, "to play".
; more prelusive, most prelusive
Concerning an introduction which indicates that something of a similar kind is to follow: Mrs. Dean, the principal of the high school, gave a prelusive speech at the graduation ceremony during which she talked about the achievements of the students.
Pertaining to something which takes place before wedlock: Because of severe diseases that might be contagious, but not known, premarital blood tests were required of couples who were planning to get married.
; more premature, most premature
1. A reference to something that happens before the proper time: When the candidate for mayor was about to announce his victory, he was told that he was making a premature
statement because all of the ballots or votes had not yet been counted.
2. Descriptive of something that is occurring, growing, or existing before a customary, correct, or assigned time: Jerry missed his flight because it made a premature
departure in order to avoid the severe storm that was approaching the area.
3. Etymology: from Latin praematurus
; from prae-
, "before" + maturus
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