pre·​fron·​tal | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈfrən-tᵊl How to pronounce prefrontal (audio) \

Definition of prefrontal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: anterior to or involving the anterior part of a frontal structure a prefrontal bone



Definition of prefrontal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a prefrontal part (such as a bone)

Examples of prefrontal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But if the stressor is an invisible virus, losing your prefrontal function is extraordinarily unhelpful and more dangerous. Susan Dunne,, "Yale neuroscientist discusses how coronavirus pandemic stress alters brain chemistry," 10 Aug. 2020 Understanding how fish behave on high-pressure days versus prefrontal days with dropping barometric pressure is key. Kristtine Fischer, Outdoor Life, "How to Catch Big Fish from a Kayak," 6 May 2020 President Kennedy's sister, Rosemary Kennedy, had part of her brain removed in 1941 in a relatively new procedure known as a prefrontal lobotomy. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Inside the Kennedy family's tragedies and untimely deaths," 2 Aug. 2019 Freeman traveled to mental institutions around the U.S. in the ’50s and ’60s championing the dangerous brain surgery and continuing long after prefrontal lobotomies were widely discredited. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Mountain Is a Strange and Alienating Satire," 28 July 2019 The prefrontal area, on the other hand, shuts down during sleep. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "For Babies, Life May Be a Trip," 18 July 2018 One study suggests that parents help children to induce a more mature form of amygdala-prefrontal connectivity that encourages effective regulation. Dylan Gee, Vox, "I study kids who were separated from their parents. The trauma could change their brains forever.," 20 June 2018 The most significant differences in brain volume were seen in the temporal and prefrontal lobes, including areas associated with activity, attention, and motor control. Amy Ellis Nutt,, "Brain abnormalities found in 4- and 5-year-olds with ADHD, researchers say," 26 Mar. 2018 The group that played the nonviolent game showed more activity in the prefrontal parts of the brain, which are involved in inhibition, concentration and self-control., "Trump Reopens a Seemingly Settled Video-Game Debate," 7 Mar. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dehaene and Changeux postulated that the workspace is instantiated by a network of pyramidal (excitatory) neurons linked to far-flung cortical regions, in particular the prefrontal, parietotemporal and midline (cingulate) associative areas. Christof Koch, Scientific American, "Will Machines Ever Become Conscious?," 1 Dec. 2019 During the adolescent years the prefrontal cortex, the portion of your brain that sits just behind your forehead, is still forming. Molly Lotz, The Denver Post, "Science behind marijuana empowers teens," 14 Apr. 2017 The combination of social media pressure and an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that helps us rationalize decisions, control impulsivity and make judgments, can contribute to offensive online posts. Ana Homayoun, New York Times, "The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers," 7 June 2017 And when people refused to profit from harming others, the prefrontal cortex increased its communication with the striatum. Molly Crockett, Scientific American Blog Network, "Why We Forgo Self-Interest for Others' Sake," 15 May 2017 The prefrontal cortex trims away neural connections that are not needed and begins the process of myelination, or wrapping nerve cells in myelin. Molly Lotz, The Denver Post, "Science behind marijuana empowers teens," 14 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prefrontal.' 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 prefrontal


1854, in the meaning defined above


1854, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of prefrontal was in 1854

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Cite this Entry

“Prefrontal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for prefrontal


pre·​fron·​tal | \ ˌprē-ˈfrənt-ᵊl How to pronounce prefrontal (audio) \

Medical Definition of prefrontal

1 : situated or occurring anterior to a frontal structure a prefrontal bone
2 : of, relating to, or constituting the prefrontal lobe or prefrontal cortex of the brain

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