pre·​pa·​ra·​to·​ry | \pri-ˈper-ə-ˌtȯr-ē also ˈpre-p(ə-)rə-, pri-ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of preparatory 

: preparing or serving to prepare for something : introductory

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preparatory

preparatorily \ pri-​ˌper-​ə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē also  ˌpre-​p(ə-​)rə-​, pri-​ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adverb

Examples of preparatory in a Sentence

There is a lot of preparatory work involved in teaching. a preparatory investigation to see if there is enough evidence to warrant bringing charges

Recent Examples on the Web

Among the standouts are Robert Lawson’s 1936 preparatory drawings for Munro Leaf’s treasured children’s book The Story of Ferdinand. Edith Newhall,, "The Library Company and Free Library unpack their treasures for two must-see exhibits," 28 June 2018 And what’s even more astonishing is learning that Kingelez made no preparatory drawings or plans. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams’ Review: Utopia in Miniature," 23 June 2018 Michelangelo burned most of his preparatory drawings and sketches. The Economist, "The many ways art goes missing," 10 May 2018 In her studio, there are posters calling for Trump’s immediate impeachment and decrying the corruption of power in Washington D.C. interspersed with preparatory sketches of models, cheery found photos and colorful to-do lists. Anna Furman, New York Times, "In the Studio With an Artist Who Paints in a ‘Color Trance’," 8 May 2018 KIPP San Antonio Public Schools, a charter school network, has offered a film course in the topic at its middle school for three years and as a dual credit fine arts course at its university preparatory high school for four years. Krista Torralva And Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, "Some area schools already plunging into Mexican-American studies," 10 June 2018 After preparatory talks this week, U.S. negotiators have not announced an agenda for the summit, which could bring the two leaders together in Singapore on June 12. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, "What will U.S. give North Korea in exchange for nukes? Ahead of summit, question looms.," 31 May 2018 The White House has vacillated in recent days about whether the two countries were holding preparatory talks in advance of the summit. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Trump Revives Hopes of North Korea Summit," 25 May 2018 Before undertaking the official work, Phillips did two preparatory oil sketches of each prince. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Palace Releases Never-Before-Seen Paintings of Prince Harry, Prince William, and More British Royals," 2 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of preparatory

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for preparatory

Middle English, borrowed from Latin praeparātōrius, from praeparāre "to prepare" + -tōrius, deverbal adjective suffix, originally in derivatives from agent nouns ending in -tōr-, -tor

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preparatory

Share preparatory

Statistics for preparatory

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preparatory

The first known use of preparatory was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preparatory



English Language Learners Definition of preparatory

: used or done to prepare for something


pre·​par·​a·​to·​ry | \pri-ˈper-ə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Kids Definition of preparatory

: preparing or serving to prepare for something He attended a preparatory school before college.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on preparatory

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


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

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!