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[pree-suh-pohz] /ˌpri səˈpoʊz/
verb (used with object), presupposed, presupposing.
to suppose or assume beforehand; take for granted in advance.
(of a thing, condition, or state of affairs) to require or imply as an antecedent condition:
An effect presupposes a cause.
Origin of presuppose
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50; late Middle English word from Middle French word presupposer. See pre-, suppose
Related forms
[pree-suhp-uh-zish-uh n] /ˌpri sʌp əˈzɪʃ ən/ (Show IPA),
presuppositionless, adjective
1. presume. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for presupposition
Historical Examples
  • On the life of the family, then, as a presupposition, all systems of Education must be built.

    Pedagogics as a System Karl Rosenkranz
  • Consciousness is the presupposition for the existence of the psychical objects.

    Psychotherapy Hugo Mnsterberg
  • Veblen has made it perfectly clear that particular matters of theory are affected by the presupposition of hedonism.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • His own will is presupposition for being hypnotized and for realizing the suggestion.

    Psychotherapy Hugo Mnsterberg
  • The presupposition is really a condition of geometrical thinking at all.

    Kant's Theory of Knowledge Harold Arthur Prichard
  • This is the presupposition which we must explain and make good.

  • And this presupposition fills, for modern philosophy, the place of the Cogito ergo sum of Descartes.

  • His problem is to discover the presupposition of this presupposition.

    Kant's Theory of Knowledge Harold Arthur Prichard
  • That generalization was a presupposition of the calculations leading to the discovery.

  • For the critic cannot enlighten or satisfy the masses with his presupposition, Man.

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
British Dictionary definitions for presupposition


verb (transitive)
to take for granted; assume
to require or imply as a necessary prior condition
(philosophy, logic, linguistics) to require (a condition) to be satisfied as a precondition for a statement to be either true or false or for a speech act to be felicitous. Have you stopped beating your wife? presupposes that the person addressed has a wife and has beaten her
Derived Forms
presupposition (ˌpriːsʌpəˈzɪʃən) noun
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
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Word Origin and History for presupposition

1530s, from Middle French présupposition and directly from Medieval Latin praesuppositionem (nominative praesuppositio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin praesupponere, from prae "before" (see pre-) + suppositio (see suppose).



mid-15c., from Old French presupposer (14c.), from Medieval Latin praesupponere; see pre- + suppose. Related: Presupposed; presupposing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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