pre·​req·​ui·​site | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈre-kwə-zət How to pronounce prerequisite (audio) \

Definition of prerequisite

: something that is necessary to an end or to the carrying out of a function

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Other Words from prerequisite

prerequisite adjective

Did You Know?

Prerequisite is partly based on requirere, the Latin verb meaning "to need or require". So a prerequisite can be anything that must be accomplished or acquired before something else can be done. Possessing a valid credit card is a prerequisite for renting a car. A physical exam may be a prerequisite for receiving a life-insurance policy. And successful completion of an introductory course is often a prerequisite for enrolling in a higher-level course.

Examples of prerequisite in a Sentence

Future greatness does not always inspire popularity. Coolness, in the high-school or hip sense of the word, is not a prerequisite for leadership. — Evan Thomas, Newsweek, 2 Aug. 2004 … opposition to the totalitarian threat was the prerequisite for membership in American liberalism because communism was the defining moral challenge of the age. — Peter Beinart, New Republic, 13 Dec. 2004 But old-school Andy lacks a skill that may soon be a prerequisite for 21st-century detective work: knowing how to glean secrets from a suspect's hard drive. — Daniel McGinn, Newsweek, 23 Sept. 2002
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Recent Examples on the Web Showing that a specimen is unique is a prerequisite for classifying it as belonging to a separate, new species that deserves its own name. Vivien Shaw, Quartz, "Scientists want to rewrite the evolution of walking—but should they?," 14 Dec. 2019 Certain prerequisites must be met, and credits may be awarded for additional elements or building techniques, raising certification to silver, gold or platinum levels. Michael Kolomatsky, New York Times, "Which States Build the Greenest?," 11 July 2019 Peso interest rates have also come down, which is a prerequisite for a return to growth. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Argentina’s Monetary Rescue," 16 Dec. 2018 Holiday cacti need a short rest period at summer’s end as a prerequisite to bloom. Washington Post, "Winter cacti are hard to name but easy to grow," 17 Dec. 2019 No prerequisites for the new coach were specified Monday. Joey Knight,, "USF won’t use search firm to hire next head football coach," 2 Dec. 2019 Just as the chemistry among players is usually a prerequisite for success, the same is usually true for the coaching staff. Don Markus,, "Along with the players, Turgeon’s assistant coaches play their role in men’s basketball team’s development," 30 Nov. 2019 So while not a hard and fast prerequisite for joy, having enough in the bank can certainly take the sting out of happiness inhibitors. Dan Carson, Houston Chronicle, "The minimum salary you need to be happy in Houston (and other cities)," 26 Nov. 2019 Perhaps some degree of inner and outer conflict, of bitterness, despair, and indignation at a world so alien to the heart’s desire, is a prerequisite of the creative process, or at least of its deepest and most stirring manifestations. Lillian Symes, Harper's magazine, "San Francisco Blues," 25 Nov. 2019

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

circa 1631, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for prerequisite

Time Traveler

The first known use of prerequisite was circa 1631

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Statistics for prerequisite

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prerequisite.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for prerequisite


How to pronounce prerequisite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prerequisite

: something that you officially must have or do before you can have or do something else


pre·​req·​ui·​site | \ prē-ˈre-kwə-zət How to pronounce prerequisite (audio) \

Kids Definition of prerequisite

: something that is needed beforehand : requirement Citizenship is a prerequisite for voting.

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Comments on prerequisite

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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