pre·​pa·​ra·​to·​ry pri-ˈper-ə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce preparatory (audio)
 also  ˈpre-p(ə-)rə-,
pri-ˈpa-rə- How to pronounce preparatory (audio)
: preparing or serving to prepare for something : introductory
pri-ˌper-ə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē How to pronounce preparatory (audio)
 also  ˌpre-p(ə-)rə-

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 The private college preparatory Christian school shared a statement on Facebook on May 12. Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 13 May 2024 Bidding for the first round of support is limited to firms that went through a preparatory procedure last summer. Geir Moulson, Quartz, 12 Mar. 2024 In November, the Swedish firm was setting up a new UK holding company in what was seen as the preparatory work for a potential public offering. Aisha S Gani, Fortune Europe, 8 Mar. 2024 Yale, in New Haven, Conn., said that test scores were particularly valuable in evaluating students who attend high schools with fewer academic resources or college preparatory courses. Stephanie Saul, New York Times, 22 Feb. 2024 This latest paper sheds more light on the painting by focusing on the preparatory layers applied to the canvas. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 15 Dec. 2023 School plans call for a college preparatory program with an emphasis on preparing for careers. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, 14 Oct. 2023 Cumming, however, was almost preposterously exacting, making elaborate preparatory sketches when ideas came into his head, then manufacturing props as necessary and working with a cumbersome eight-by-ten-inch view camera to produce prints in astonishing detail. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, 8 Feb. 2024 His dance theater works don’t require preparatory research. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near preparatory

Cite this Entry

“Preparatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


pre·​pa·​ra·​to·​ry pri-ˈpar-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce preparatory (audio) -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce preparatory (audio)
: preparing or serving to prepare for something : introductory

More from Merriam-Webster on preparatory

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