pre·​fab | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈfab How to pronounce prefab (audio) , 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

According to Forbes, the father of four has been working with designers to come up with prefab structures with the same out-of-this-world aesthetic. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Kanye West Is Building "Star Wars"-Inspired Homes for the Homeless," 10 July 2019 At the Élysée, I was surprised by Macron’s willingness to genuinely engage with my questions, rather than use them as prompts for prefab spiels. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "Can Emmanuel Macron Stem the Populist Tide?," 24 June 2019 Carved under the snow and ice, Camp Century had a main street and prefab housing for 250 soldiers and scientists—all powered by a pint-sized nuclear reactor. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 Chen’s volunteers live on the property in prefab homes, a camper and stables on whose walls rusted riding gear still hangs. Matthew Ormseth,, "With Tiananmen Square ‘Tank Man,’ Chinese sculptor will keep democracy’s flame alive in Mojave," 3 June 2019 The holy grail of prefab architecture is something that’s cost effective, efficient to build, and breathtakingly beautiful. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Based on your zodiac sign, what should your Halloween costume be?," 10 Oct. 2018 Others see technology as a potential savior; numerous startups and new prefab companies have raised money to develop more efficient construction methods. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rising labor costs send the price of house construction skyward," 17 Dec. 2018 Here’s a closer look at the prefab projects that impressed us this year for those reasons and more. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "The 7 most impressive prefab homes from 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 There are a lot of appealing benefits to purchasing a prefab home. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Impressive Evolution Of Prefabricated Houses," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Connor Mill-Built Homes constructs prefabs with historically accurate exteriors but all the necessities of modern living. Dan Neil, WSJ, "The Fantasy Utility Vehicle: A $300,000 Nostalgia Trip," 27 June 2019 Marius Barstad, a Norwegian plastic surgeon, and his wife, Bente Eger, a sales agent for a fashion company, gave a humdrum 1970s prefab, perched on the edge of Oslo’s inner fjord, a radical makeover. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Living Large in a Scandinavian Suburb," 3 Oct. 2018 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

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

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for prefab

The first known use of prefab was in 1937

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More Definitions for prefab



English Language Learners Definition of prefab

informal : a prefabricated building (such as a house)

More from Merriam-Webster on prefab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prefab

Nglish: Translation of prefab for Spanish Speakers

Comments on prefab

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something desired as essential

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