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

Noun The company sells hundreds of prefabs every year.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The chiming and droning soundtrack suits the main event — two clear, prefab greenhouses that contain fog machines and lights that, like the music, revolve and repeat. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: A D.C.-Madrid ‘conversation’ beween artists, two shows infused with color and light, and Persian perspectives," 7 Feb. 2020 By the 1760s, a prefab sheet of silver started the caddies’ life, saving labor. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Winter Show’s Many Small Treasures," 28 Jan. 2020 Clients can also order a customizable prefab to fit the space and can construct it on a foundation. oregonlive, "Permits for in-law flats and other ADUs are down but interest remains high," 12 Jan. 2020 Minority writing has always assumed a kind of antagonism, a prefab agony about being invariably misunderstood. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Asian-American Canon Breakers," 30 Dec. 2019 One former designer told me about using building information modeling to pinpoint information relevant to a worker’s happiness, such as where sunlight would fall across a desk; a former VP talked about cutting-edge prefab components. Margaret Rhodes, Fortune, "The Luminaries—Past and Present—Reimagining the Modern Office," 30 Dec. 2019 The prefab modular home is sent to you and requires absolutely no DIY work. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Amazon Is Selling an Expandable Solar-Powered Tiny Home That Requires Absolutely No DIY Work," 16 Oct. 2019 Instead, Bain, her husband and their 11-year-old daughter sleep in a 120-square-foot prefab structure that is retrofitted with drywall and flooring in the backyard of her great-grandmother’s house in Menlo Park, Calif. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, "She was Instacart’s biggest cheerleader. Now she’s leading a worker revolt.," 10 Dec. 2019 There is also an old convent, some prefab buildings, and mobile homes. Hannah Beckler, The New Republic, "“It’s a Prison”," 14 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's where this truck would be happy, on the open road, stoically towing a gigantic prefab shed or a yacht. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Ram 3500 Is Textbook Outrageous," 22 July 2019 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

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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The first known use of prefab was in 1937

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prefab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of prefab

informal : a prefabricated building (such as a house)

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prefab

Nglish: Translation of prefab for Spanish Speakers

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