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

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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

Suspending disbelief is a prerequisite for watching most major sci-fi films and series as of late. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The First: Hulu’s new series about a human mission to Mars feels pretty real," 5 Sep. 2018 On a sensitive residential project like this one, the client’s baseline prerequisites come first, but H&dM’s subversive streak is bound to assert itself. Ian Volner, WSJ, "Swiss Architecture Firm Herzog & De Meuron Celebrates 40 Years," 4 Nov. 2018 With no prerequisites required, the class, offered through the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, filled to its cap of 50 students. Colleen Wright, miamiherald, "This new FIU class had 48 women, 2 men. Their assignment: Prevent rape on campus. | Miami Herald," 7 May 2018 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

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

10 Dec 2018

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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

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to enclose within walls

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