Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

preposition1

[prep-uh-zish-uh n] /ˌprɛp əˈzɪʃ ən/
noun, Grammar.
1.
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.
Origin of preposition1
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English preposicioun < Latin praepositiōn- (stem of praepositiō) a putting before, a prefix, preposition. See pre-, position
Related forms
prepositional, adjective
prepositionally, adverb
nonprepositional, adjective
nonprepositionally, adverb
quasi-prepositional, adjective
quasi-prepositionally, adverb
Can be confused
preposition, proposition.
Usage note
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.

preposition2

or pre-position

[pree-puh-zish-uh n] /ˌpri pəˈzɪʃ ən/
verb (used with object)
1.
to position in advance or beforehand:
to preposition troops in anticipated trouble spots.
Origin
First recorded in 1960-65; pre- + position
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for preposition
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The participle may also have the character of an adjective, the adverb either of an adjective or of a preposition.

    Cratylus Plato
  • Ago is derived from the participle agone, while since comes from a preposition.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • The Anglicism of terminating the sentence with a preposition is rejected.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • Very often the preposition is not repeated in a sentence, when it should be.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • One of the many cases in which the French preposition has been incorporated in the name.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley
  • Sometimes in these cases the preposition or conjunction is combined with ow.

  • Of with a superlative is translated by the preposition el (out of).

  • The word by after a Passive is translated by the preposition de.

  • How does notwithstanding as a preposition differ from despite or in spite of?

    English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald
British Dictionary definitions for preposition

preposition

/ˌprɛpəˈzɪʃən/
noun
1.
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 prep
Derived Forms
prepositional, adjective
prepositionally, adverb
Usage note
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
Word Origin
C14: from Latin praepositiō a putting before, from pōnere to place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for preposition
n.

late 14c., from Latin praepositionem (nominative praepositio) "a putting before, a prefixing," noun of action from past participle stem of praeponere "put before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + ponere "put, set, place" (see position (n.)). In grammatical use, a loan-translation of Greek prothesis, literally "a setting before."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
preposition in Culture

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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for preposition

Word Value for preposition

15
18
Scrabble Words With Friends