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See more synonyms for prefigure on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pre·fig·ured, pre·fig·ur·ing.
  1. to show or represent beforehand by a figure or type; foreshadow.
  2. to picture or represent to oneself beforehand; imagine.
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Origin of prefigure

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin praefigūrāre. See pre-, figure (v.)
Related formspre·fig·ur·a·tive [pree-fig-yer-uh-tiv] /priˈfɪg yər ə tɪv/, adjectivepre·fig·ur·a·tive·ly, adverbpre·fig·ur·a·tive·ness, nounpre·fig·ure·ment, nounun·pre·fig·ured, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prefigurement

Historical Examples

  • In prefigurement of the Wandering Jew, each day he moved on.

    The Lords of the Ghostland

    Edgar Saltus

  • If the prefigurement was at any point vague it was none the less arresting.

    Gideon's Band

    George W. Cable

  • In each of these existences the larva or mask is the prefigurement of the succeeding existence.

    The Insect

    Jules Michelet

  • It was not quite easy to see why this had been the case—it had not been precisely Peter's own prefigurement.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James

British Dictionary definitions for prefigurement


verb (tr)
  1. to represent or suggest in advance
  2. to imagine or consider beforehand
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Derived Formsprefigurement, 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

Word Origin and History for prefigurement



early 15c., from Late Latin praefigurare "to prefigure," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + figurare "to form, shape," from figura "a shape, form, figure" (see figure (n.)). Related: Prefigured; prefiguring.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper