pre·​req·​ui·​site | \(ˌ)prē-ˈre-kwə-zət \

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

Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea is a prerequisite for the U.S. to re-engage with Eritrea, two Western diplomats have said. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Ethiopia and Eritrea Move to End 20-Year Conflict in Historic Breakthrough," 8 July 2018 Having a big Instagram following is not a prerequisite for being admitted. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Can ‘Illuminati Tinder’ Save Us All?," 27 June 2018 But while a good portion of Allen's comedy was informed by his conservative perspective Saturday, that point of view wasn't a prerequisite for a chuckle. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Review: At Milwaukee gig, Tim Allen shows why 'Last Man Standing' will be a hit once again," 23 June 2018 That program takes four years if the student already has completed their prerequisites for nursing. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lack of seats in nursing degree program at UWM no longer an obstacle for students with new MATC partnership," 3 July 2018 In an economy that increasingly has made a college degree practically a prerequisite for decent work, what other choice is there? Marcella Bombardieri, The Atlantic, "One College's Struggle to Get Poor Students Through School," 30 May 2018 The most important prerequisites to enjoying Infinity War are, in my humble opinion, the first two Avengers movies, the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Iron Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "9 questions about Avengers: Infinity War you were too embarrassed to ask," 2 May 2018 But one prerequisite cannot be taught — the ability to make a veteran feel at home. Patrica Kime,, "VA turns to foster care for veterans instead of putting them in nursing homes," 29 June 2018 One prerequisite is to establish if the meeting is designed to persuade the staff to go along with a management decision or to learn about the workers’ ideas and problems. The Economist, "Tortured by meetings," 28 June 2018

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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Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prerequisite

The first known use of prerequisite was circa 1631

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More Definitions for prerequisite



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 \

Kids Definition of prerequisite

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on prerequisite

Spanish Central: Translation of prerequisite

Nglish: Translation of prerequisite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prerequisite for Arabic Speakers

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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