pre·​par·​a·​tive | \ pri-ˈper-ə-tiv How to pronounce preparative (audio) , pri-ˈpa-rə-tiv \

Definition of preparative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that prepares the way for or serves as a preliminary to something else : preparation



Definition of preparative (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preparative


preparatively adverb

Examples of preparative in a Sentence

Adjective preparative warning that the injection was going to cause a modest amount of pain
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Using photography as a preparative tool as well as an art form later in life reveals Degas to have been a more progressive artist that was willing to experiment. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New exhibit takes an intimate look at Edgar Degas and his circle," 25 July 2019 Gordon explains that the body has quite a bit of pre-labor preparative work to do. Tanya Ward Goodman, Orange County Register, "Past your due date? Some ideas to get that baby moving.," 5 June 2017

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

First Known Use of preparative


14th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for preparative


Middle English preparatif, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin prēparātīvus, derivative of prēparātīvus, adjective, "preparatory," from Latin praeparātus, past participle of praeparāre "to prepare" + -īvus -ive


borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French preparatif, borrowed from Medieval Latin prēparātīvus — more at preparative entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preparative

Time Traveler for preparative

Time Traveler

The first known use of preparative was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for preparative

Cite this Entry

“Preparative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on preparative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for preparative

Britannica English: Translation of preparative for Arabic Speakers

Comments on preparative

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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