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a. Earlier; before; prior to: prehistoric.
b. Preparatory; preliminary: premedical.
c. In advance: prepay.
2. Anterior; in front of: preaxial.
before in time, rank, order, position, etc: predate; pre-eminent; premeditation; prefrontal; preschool.
[from Latin prae-, from prae before, beforehand, in front]
a prefix, occurring orig. in loanwords from Latin, meaning “before, in front of,” “prior to, in advance of,” “surpassing” (predict; preeminent; preface; premaxilla); in English, esp. productive in forming verbs that specify an activity taking place before or instead of the usual occurrence of the same activity (preboard; precook; prepay), or in forming adjectives that specify a period of time prior to the event, period, person, etc., denoted by the headword (pre-Columbian; preschool).Also, prae-.
[< Latin prae-, prefixal use of prae (preposition and adv.)]
A prefix that means "earlier, before," or "in advance," as in prenatal, before birth.