[ pree-fawr-mey-shuh n ]
/ ˌpri fɔrˈmeɪ ʃən /


previous formation.
Biology. (formerly) the theory that the individual, with all its parts, preexists in the germ cell and grows from microscopic to normal proportions during embryogenesis (opposed to epigenesis).

Origin of preformation

First recorded in 1725–35; pre- + formation

Related forms

pre·for·ma·tion·ar·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preformation

British Dictionary definitions for preformation


/ (ˌpriːfɔːˈmeɪʃən) /


the act of forming in advance; previous formation
biology the theory, now discredited, that an individual develops by simple enlargement of a fully differentiated egg cellCompare epigenesis (def. 1)
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