pre·​fab | \(ˌ)prē-ˈfab, ˈprē-ˌfab\

Definition of prefab 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: produced by prefabrication : prefabricated a prefab house



Definition of prefab (Entry 2 of 2)

: a prefabricated structure

Examples of prefab in a Sentence


The company sells hundreds of prefabs every year.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Design magazines and blogs regularly showcase prefab houses. Michele Lerner, sacbee, "Prefabs’ appeal is going up quickly," 29 June 2018 Yet the prefab house is built for five and has many of the markings of a clever tiny home. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Prefab cabin comes with a deck almost as big as the house," 26 June 2018 Now, instead of single-family homes, companies doing prefab building are focusing on higher-density condominiums and apartments. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze," 7 June 2018 The 2,500-square-foot home, powered by solar panels, is built from a concrete skeleton and clad in prefab components made from local spruce. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Prefab modern lake house is powered by the sun," 5 July 2018 The famous developer William Levitt used some of the same prefab techniques in his Levittown houses. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Why the U.S. government built three top-secret cities during WWII," 8 May 2018 The architect, now 45, came up with the design in 2010 as an efficient way to use the prefab concrete produced in his family’s factory to build homes affordable for the typical household. J. S. Marcus, WSJ, "Where Luxury Meets a Prefab Home," 27 June 2018 While the McCormick House is clearly a one-of-a-kind structure, John McKinnon, the museum’s executive director, explained that originally it was intended as a prototype for prefab or modular housing. Graydon Megan,, "Elmhurst Art Museum opens Mies van der Rohe exhibit," 11 June 2018 The two prefab modules have parts of their mass subtracted to create a double-height entryway and covered terrace. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Bright red prefab home could pass for a modern barn," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not without drawbacks Just like every building method, prefab has its hassles. Michele Lerner, sacbee, "Prefabs’ appeal is going up quickly," 29 June 2018 High steel prices and a lack of practicality may have hindered them; the prefabs, like the McCormick House, would have had no attic or basement. Blair Kamin,, "A less-is-more restoration of a Mies house expands our view of a little-known episode in the famed architect's career," 8 June 2018 The Fox station in Madison opted not to run the prefab script. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Be MKE: Big bonuses for Kohl's execs, influencer marketing and new eats," 4 Apr. 2018 Less than 3 percent of housing starts in the United States in 2016 were some sort of prefab. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "Prefab Finds a Home in Fire-Ravaged Neighborhoods of California," 5 Mar. 2018 In the early days of prefab, the designs were limited. Sandy Deneau Dunham, The Seattle Times, "A Q&A on prefabricated homes," 7 June 2017 The architects, builders and manufacturers working with prefab are also top-notch. Sandy Deneau Dunham, The Seattle Times, "A Q&A on prefabricated homes," 7 June 2017 Pricing is of course another major benefit of modern prefab. Elizabeth Stamp, CNN, "The 'prefab' housing resurgence rolls on," 1 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prefab.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prefab


1937, in the meaning defined above


1942, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for prefab

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for prefab

The first known use of prefab was in 1937

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English Language Learners Definition of prefab

: a prefabricated building (such as a house)

Comments on prefab

What made you want to look up prefab? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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