variant of .
a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “before” (preclude; prevent); applied freely as a prefix, with the meanings “prior to,” “in advance of,” “early,” “beforehand,” “before,” “in front of,” and with other figurative meanings (preschool; prewar; prepay; preoral; prefrontal).
an archaic variant of pre-
before in time, rank, order, position, etc: predate, pre-eminent, premeditation, prefrontal, preschool

word-forming element meaning “before,” from Latin prae (adv.) “before,” from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) “forward, through” (see per; also see pre-). Reduced to pre- in Medieval Latin. According to OED the full form prae- in Modern English appears “usually only in words that are still regarded as Latin, … or that are terms of classical antiquity ….”

word-forming element meaning “before,” from Old French pre- and Medieval Latin pre-, both from Latin prae (adverb and preposition) “before in time or place,” from PIE *peri- (cf. Oscan prai, Umbrian pre, Sanskrit pare “thereupon,” Greek parai “at,” Gaulish are- “at, before,” Lithuanian pre “at,” Old Church Slavonic pri “at,” Gothic faura, Old English fore “before”), extended form of root *per- (1) “beyond” (see per).

The Latin word was active in forming verbs. Also cf. prae-. Sometimes in Middle English muddled with words in pro- or per-.

pre- pref.

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