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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said teacher vaccinations are not a prerequisite for schools to reopen safely, and schools can mitigate transmission risks through masking, distancing, adequate air ventilation, and other measures. Naomi Martin,, "Will hard-hit Mass. cities’ schools reopen after teachers are vaccinated? Not necessarily," 15 Feb. 2021 Gun registry databases are so controversial because gun rights proponents see them as a prerequisite to outlawing more firearms. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "This Encrypted Gun Registry Might Bridge a Partisan Divide," 29 Jan. 2021 Although coronavirus testing is not a prerequisite to fly out of LAX, some destinations — including Hawaii — do require negative PCR tests before traveling. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "LAX begins rapid coronavirus testing for travelers," 31 Dec. 2020 The French president is also aiming for between 2,500 to 3,000 Covid patients in intensive care as a prerequisite to lift the lockdown that started at the end of October. Rudy Ruitenberg,, "France Set to Miss Goal for Lockdown End as Progress Stalls," 7 Dec. 2020 And, increasingly, employers are even seeking work experience in lieu of a degree, even going so far as to remove it as a prerequisite for certain entry-level roles. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "I bashed my manager in an email to a co-worker… and my boss found out: Ask HR," 24 Nov. 2020 But there is a chasm between Mr. McConnell’s political imperatives and those of Mr. McCarthy, who must win the House in races where loyalty to Mr. Trump has become a prerequisite. Catie Edmondson, New York Times, "Under Pressure to Rebuke Their Own, G.O.P. Leaders Face a Critical Test," 2 Feb. 2021 That finding was a legal prerequisite for the new rules the EPA has now finished. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "EPA Sets Emissions Limits for Jet Aircraft," 28 Dec. 2020 Just an anonymous tip — a small thing, as McCarthy put it, that could help bring justice, a prerequisite for peace. Washington Post, "It’s time to help make peace. That starts with education.," 22 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of prerequisite

circa 1631, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prerequisite

Time Traveler for prerequisite

Time Traveler

The first known use of prerequisite was circa 1631

See more words from the same year

Statistics for prerequisite

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prerequisite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce prerequisite (audio) \

Kids Definition of prerequisite

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!