pre·​fig·​u·​ra·​tion (ˌ)prē-ˌfi-gyə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce prefiguration (audio)
: the act of prefiguring : the state of being prefigured
: something that prefigures
prefigurative adjective

Examples of prefiguration in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the concept of prefiguration, for its part, freights radical movements—sometimes for better, often for worse—with deep obligations beyond the already difficult tasks of winning and securing power, holding themselves to standards that state actors and other powerful opponents don’t have to meet. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 20 Sep. 2023 And the anti-authoritarian activists in the New Left movements trained themselves to create new spaces for prefiguration through a now familiar set of tactics. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 20 Sep. 2023 Since the early 20th century, Cycladic figures have had iconic power for contemporary artists, as an ancient prefiguration of abstraction. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2022 The pharaoh’s monotheism is presented as a prefiguration of the Abrahamic relationship between God and man. Mary Spencer, National Review, 14 Dec. 2019 Children, groups of friends, couples, and elderly people perch on the moon’s hook, beaming into the camera, acting out a carnivalesque prefiguration of the events of 1969. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, 10 July 2019 Tragically truncated lives tend to be told in reverse, as narratives of inevitability, thick with prefigurations of death. Leah Ollman,, 5 July 2019 In other words, the bronze serpent is a prefiguration of Christ’s Crucifixion and the world’s salvation. Jason Farago, New York Times, 26 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prefiguration.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prefiguration was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near prefiguration

Cite this Entry

“Prefiguration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!