pre·​term | \ (ˌ)prē-ˈtərm How to pronounce preterm (audio) , ˈprē-ˌtərm \

Definition of preterm

: 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 To date, the F.D.A. has approved just one virus-targeting antibody drug: a medication for the respiratory syncytial virus (R.S.V.), which causes the common cold in healthy children and adults but can lead to devastating illness in preterm infants. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "It Will Take More Than a Vaccine to Beat COVID-19," 8 Sep. 2020 Modeling action in neighborhoods (such as Avondale) that have succeeded in bringing down preterm deaths. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, "Black infant deaths dive to new low in Hamilton County," 13 July 2020 In New York City, a doula program for 500 African-American women reduced preterm birth and low birthweight. Dr. Leana Wen, Time, "American Women Are Dying. To Save Them, We Need to Depoliticize Women's Health Care," 24 Oct. 2019 Black women in the United States are also at greater risk for preterm birth, which contributes to a higher rate of infant mortality among them. Alice Callahan, New York Times, "How Realistic Is Your Due Date?," 17 Apr. 2020 Hotter and longer heat waves might increase the rate of preterm birth, new research suggests. Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, "Heat Waves May Raise Risk of Premature Birth," 2 Mar. 2020 Studies suggest preterm birth and low birth weight can negatively affect cognitive development, linking them with lower test scores and greater rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Police Killings of Unarmed Black Americans May Affect Health of Black Infants," 4 Dec. 2019 The labels must be placed on legal recreational and medical marijuana products and warn that use by pregnant or breastfeeding women may result in fetal injury, preterm birth, low birth weight or development problems for children. USA TODAY, "Lobster blood, Washington’s teeth, Hawaii shark hero: News from around our 50 states," 21 Feb. 2020 According to the March of Dimes, the preterm birth rate in the U.S. has been steadily rising, from 9.6 percent in 2015, to more than 10 percent in 2018. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "Very hot weather prompts early births, study says," 2 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preterm.' 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 preterm

1928, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for preterm

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The first known use of preterm was in 1928

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Statistics for preterm

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preterm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for preterm


pre·​term | \ -ˈtərm How to pronounce preterm (audio) \

Medical Definition of preterm

: of, relating to, being, or born by premature birth preterm infants a preterm delivery preterm labor

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