View synonyms for prep



[ prep ]


  1. a preliminary or warm-up activity or event; trial run:

    The race is a good prep for the Kentucky Derby.

  2. preparation:

    dealer prep on the car included.

  3. the act of preparing a patient for a medical or surgical procedure.


  1. preparatory:

    a prep school.

  2. involving or used for preparation:

    the mortuary's prep room.

verb (used with object)

, prepped, prep·ping.
  1. to prepare (a person) for a test, debate, etc.
  2. to prepare (a patient) for a medical or surgical procedure, as by shaving and washing the skin with an antibacterial soap.
  3. to prepare (a vehicle or craft) for sale, use, a test drive, or a race.
  4. to prepare (something); make ready:

    You can prep the onions and peppers in advance.

verb (used without object)

, prepped, prep·ping.
  1. to prepare; get ready:

    to prep for the game.

  2. to attend a preparatory school.



[ prep ]


, Medicine/Medical.
  1. pre-exposure prophylaxis: the prevention of a disease such as HIV or hepatitis A through the use of pills or vaccine, administered typically to those whose risk of contracting the disease is substantial.



abbreviation for

  1. preparation.
  2. preparatory.
  3. prepare.
  4. preposition.



/ prɛp /


  1. informal.
“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


  1. tr to prepare (a patient) for a medical operation or procedure
“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



abbreviation for

  1. preparation
  2. preparatory
  3. preposition
“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 History and Origins

Origin of prep1

First recorded in 1860–65; by shortening
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Example Sentences

I was on my way to a wedding in New Orleans, so I had 24 hours to prep the 18 pages of text that they sent me.

Oshay Davis is on PrEP and plans to be on it for the foreseeable future.

Of the 2,319 people prescribed Truvada for PrEP in 2012 and 2013 nationwide, almost half were women.

Some have even started sharing their PrEP use on those apps.

We kept pushing and financing the prep ourselves because we had a very strong sense that it was the right time for that movie.

Carbonic ether, Carbonate of oxide of ethyl; ther carbonicus, L. Prep.

Oxalic ether, Oxalate of oxide of ethyl; ther oxalicus, L. Prep.

Valerianic ether, Valerate of oxide of ethyl; ther valerianicus, L. Prep.

Alcoholic extract of sabadilla; Extractum sabadill, L. Prep.

Extract of stinking goose-foot; Extractum chenopodii, L. Prep.


Related Words

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About This Word

What else does prep mean?

Preps are people who live a preppy lifestyle, associated with young, rich, usually white men and their stereotypical fashion.

Where does prep come from?

The terms prep and preppy are shortened from preparatory school, which prepares students for higher education.

Historically, the children of America’s elite were traditionally sent away to expensive, exclusive preparatory academies, which served as feeder schools to institutions like Harvard and Yale.  Due to a push starting in the 1960s for all students to have access to education outside of the typical public school, these preparatory schools began admitting people from a more diverse socioeconomic background.

So, while the word prep no longer only refers to people who attended one of these elite schools, it does refer to individuals who identify with or are connected to the culture that resulted from preparatory school traditions. 

In the 1980s, The Official Preppy Handbook was published. It was meant to be a joke, but some took it seriously as a set of instructions on how to live the preppy lifestyle. Due to many aspects of the lifestyle carrying a hefty price tag, preps continue to be from or associated with a wealthy upbringing.

One of the biggest qualities of preppy culture is the fashion, which has been characterized as a hybrid of casual and formal attire, often from pricy retailers. Think pastel-colored khaki shorts; a tucked-in, pop-collared Polo shirt; and loafers or boat shoes worn without socks. Many stereotypically preppy activities are expensive and exclusive, too, such as rowing, sailing, or riding horses.

How is prep used in real life?

Numerous U.S. presidents attended prep schools, including Massachusetts native President John F. Kennedy, who was a graduate of Connecticut’s Choate Rosemary Hall. 

Preppy characters are also found in popular movies and TV shows, including Mad Men’s Pete Campbell and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Carlton Banks. The hit series Gossip Girl centered around the lives of a group of elite New York City prep school attendees.

The terms prep and preppy can be found on social media, print, and in speech. Often, the terms carry a negative connotation when used by people outside of the preppy subculture to describe people within it—though plenty of self-styled preps embrace the term. 

The stereotypical preppy aesthetic is also often trendy and fashionable in mainstream culture, especially among young men.

More examples of prep:

“Just met w/a student from San Antonio’s March for Our Lives/Students Demand Action. At her school, the “cool” preps who counterprotested their walk-out park new parent-purchased Jeeps, emblazoned w/American, Texas, Confederate, & Don’t Tread On Me flags, in ‘Jeep Row.’”
—@annehelen, August 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.