pre·​test ˈprē-ˌtest How to pronounce pretest (audio)
: a preliminary test: such as
: a test of the effectiveness or safety of a product prior to its sale
: a test to evaluate the preparedness of students for further studies
pretest transitive verb

Examples of pretest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Students who read the essay without a pretest were given additional time to study, or else the students’ attention was focused on the critical passages in one of several ways: by italicizing the critical section or by making the key term that would be tested bold, or by a combination of strategies. Bridgid Finn, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2010 Within 140-170 days after removal, sperm concentration levels returned to pretest levels (40 million/ml). Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 18 July 2014 After families submit an initial pretest for students, the district manages the weekly testing through mobile clinics that move from campus to campus. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2021 The pretest — available at sites throughout the district — is mandatory and will be followed by weekly follow-up testing at campuses. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2021 Every unit starts with a pretest, so teachers don’t waste time. Eva-Marie Ayala, Dallas News, 17 Mar. 2021 There is no fee for either class, but there is a charge to take the G.E.D. pretest and test. Ramona Sentinel, 7 Sep. 2019 In preparation for the event, the entire school took a spelling pretest in all English classes. Charlene Paparizos,, 15 Feb. 2018 Blackmon actually touts the speed at which kids can fly through Odysseyware coursework: Each unit starts with a pretest, and schools can decide what percent of questions their students need to answer correctly in order to pass. Zoë Kirsch, Slate Magazine, 24 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pretest.' 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

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pretest was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near pretest

Cite this Entry

“Pretest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pre·​test (ˈ)prē-ˈtest How to pronounce pretest (audio)
: a test to find out if students are prepared for further studies

Medical Definition


1 of 2 noun
pre·​test ˈprē-ˌtest How to pronounce pretest (audio)
: a preliminary test
especially : a test of the effectiveness or safety of a product (as a drug) prior to its sale


2 of 2 transitive verb
pre·​test ˌprē-ˈtest How to pronounce pretest (audio)
: to subject to a pretest
pretested drugs

intransitive verb

: to perform a pretest

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