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 That could lead it to take an unyielding line on lifting the penalties as a prerequisite for any talks with the U.S., a demand that could confront stiff opposition in the U.S. Congress. Arsalan Shahla,, "Iran’s Foreign Minister Strikes Conciliatory Tone on U.S.," 18 Nov. 2020 Experience as a former general manager is not a prerequisite. Maria Torres Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "What is known about the Angels’ GM search based on candidates interviewed," 3 Nov. 2020 Spiders don’t have ears—generally a prerequisite for hearing. Lucy Hicks, Science | AAAS, "These frightening ogre-faced spiders use their legs to ‘hear’," 29 Oct. 2020 New York has long been the skyscraper capital of the world, where elevators are not a convenience, but a necessity, a prerequisite. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "It Might Become the Scariest Part of Your Commute: The Elevator," 26 Oct. 2020 The Afghan government, which wasn’t part of that deal, wants the insurgents to adhere also to an Afghan-U. S. declaration that makes a commitment to negotiation and permanent cease-fire a prerequisite for a peace deal. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Violence Plagues Afghanistan as Peace Talks With Taliban Struggle to Take Off," 23 Sep. 2020 But, at least for the UAE and Bahrain, the latter no longer seems a prerequisite for the former, given how remote the two-state solution as it was envisioned two decades ago looks now. Washington Post, "The Arab tide turns against the Palestinians," 14 Sep. 2020 Treating friendship as a prerequisite to cooperation also misses the fact that people have long worked together for the common good on the basis of relationships that do not resemble the intimacy of friends. Francesca Polletta, The Conversation, "Bridging America’s divides requires a willingness to work together without becoming friends first," 9 Sep. 2020 In any case, a college degree, even a free one, should not be a prerequisite to a fair wage and dignified life. Astra Taylor, The New Republic, "The End of the University," 8 Sep. 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.

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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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Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prerequisite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 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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