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) \

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 How to pronounce preparatorily (audio) 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 The state is on the verge of allowing mail-in voting for this fall’s presidential election, a step seen as preparatory in case a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic makes in-person balloting too dangerous. USA TODAY, "Rock Hall, Hard Rock resort, full-service gas: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2020 Through BPS’s Exam School Initiative, up to 750 students across the city can access a preparatory course at no cost. Jim Stergios,, "Tackling equity at Boston’s exam schools," 2 Aug. 2019 According to the complaint, Queen of Apostles removed windows from the church, which seems to be a preparatory move to the imminent razing of the building. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The village of Pewaukee has filed a lawsuit against Queen of Apostles to block the razing of a historic church," 12 May 2020 But preparatory measures for most of the night’s guest list were already well underway. Eliza Huber,, "Here’s What You Would’ve Seen On The Met Gala Red Carpet Last Night," 5 May 2020 Lines copied onto the canvas from a preparatory drawing, or cartoon, also appear, darkened with a type of lead paint visible on X-ray. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Nativity Scene Discovered Beneath 16th-Century Painting of John the Baptist’s Beheading," 20 Dec. 2019 Rosalind grew up on her family’s estate in Fairfield, Conn., and her parents sent her to the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn., one of the first college preparatory boarding schools for upper-class women. Joseph Berger, New York Times, "Rosalind P. Walter, 95, First ‘Rosie the Riveter’ and a PBS Funder, Dies," 4 Mar. 2020 The school is a free, private, college preparatory elementary and middle school for young men in Louisville. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "It's not too early to think Kentucky Derby: Here's how The Trifecta Gala is giving back," 10 Dec. 2019 Galloway said a few weeks ago of his life at the 1,850-acre college preparatory boarding school in Northern Indiana. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Scouting report: What type of player is IU basketball getting with Trey Galloway," 26 July 2019

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

Time Traveler for preparatory

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for preparatory

Last Updated

19 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preparatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preparatory


How to pronounce preparatory (audio) How to pronounce preparatory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preparatory

: used or done to prepare for something


pre·​par·​a·​to·​ry | \ pri-ˈper-ə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce preparatory (audio) \

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!