pre·​term (ˌ)prē-ˈtərm How to pronounce preterm (audio)
: of, relating to, being, or brought forth by premature birth
a preterm infant
preterm labor

Examples of preterm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Beyond saving preterm infants, the greatest benefit may be lowering life-altering birth defects by letting babies continue growing in a womb. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2017 This includes very preterm infants and those with heart and lung conditions. Annette Regan, The Conversation, 16 Dec. 2022 Predictably, women — and specifically unvaccinated women — who had COVID during their pregnancy often became sicker, and the risk of fetal loss and preterm birth was higher. cleveland, 1 Dec. 2022 Wingate has been charged with improving the state's preterm birth rate by improving maternal and fetal health. Erika Edwards, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2022 Asian and Pacific Islander mothers saw the largest preterm birth increase. Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2022 Black women are also 2.5 times more likely to deliver their babies preterm than white women. Ruha Benjamin, WIRED, 22 Sep. 2022 Women are also at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy health outcomes as a result of Covid infections, including hypertension, preeclampsia, impaired fetal growth and preterm birth. Madeline Halpert, Forbes, 11 Aug. 2022 But older moms are more likely to have preterm births, as are women infected with COVID-19, said the CDC's Joyce Martin, a study co-author. CBS News, 24 May 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'preterm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of preterm was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near preterm

Cite this Entry

“Preterm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


pre·​term -ˈtərm How to pronounce preterm (audio)
: of, relating to, being, or born by premature birth
preterm infants
a preterm delivery
preterm labor
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