[prep-uh-rey-shuh n]
  1. a proceeding, measure, or provision by which one prepares for something: preparations for a journey.
  2. any proceeding, experience, or the like considered as a mode of preparing for the future.
  3. an act of preparing.
  4. the state of being prepared.
  5. something prepared, manufactured, or compounded: a special preparation for sunbathers.
  6. a specimen, as an animal body, prepared for scientific examination, dissection, etc.
  7. Music.
    1. the preparing of a dissonance, by introducing the dissonant tone as a consonant tone in the preceding chord.
    2. the tone so introduced.
  8. New Testament. the day before the Sabbath or a feast day.
  9. British. work done by students in preparation for class; homework.
  10. the Preparation, the introductory prayers of the Mass or other divine service.

Origin of preparation

1350–1400; Middle English preparacion < Latin praeparātiōn- (stem of praeparātiō), a preparing, equivalent to praeparāt(us) (past participle of praeparāre to prepare) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsnon·prep·a·ra·tion, nounpre·prep·a·ra·tion, nounself-prep·a·ra·tion, nounsu·per·prep·a·ra·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for pre-preparation


  1. the act or process of preparing
  2. the state of being prepared; readiness
  3. (often plural) a measure done in order to prepare for something; provisionto make preparations for something
  4. something that is prepared, esp a medicinal formulation
  5. (esp in a boarding school)
    1. homework
    2. the period reserved for thisUsually shortened to: prep
  6. music
    1. the anticipation of a dissonance so that the note producing it in one chord is first heard in the preceding chord as a consonance
    2. a note so employed
  7. (often capital) the preliminary prayers at Mass or divine service
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

Word Origin and History for pre-preparation



late 14c., "act of preparing," from Latin praeparationem (nominative praeparatio) "a making ready," noun of action from past participle stem of praeparare "prepare," from prae "before" (see pre-) + parare "make ready" (see pare). Meaning "a substance especially prepared" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pre-preparation in Medicine


  1. A substance, such as a medicine, prepared for a particular purpose.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.