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pre·​treat·​ment ˌprē-ˈtrēt-mənt How to pronounce pretreatment (audio)
variants or pre-treatment
plural pretreatments or pre-treatments
: an act or instance of treating someone or something in advance : preliminary or preparatory treatment
pretreatment of stains
pretreatment of a surface for painting
pretreatment is often required to remove oil and grease from the waste water.John H. Sheridan
… will allow public works crews to apply salt brine to pre-treat city streets before snow events. The pre-treatment creates an additional layer that helps to melt snow …Kevin Thompkins
A drug called atropine can reverse the effects if administered promptly, and pretreatment with pyridostigmine can help shield the body …Adam Rogers
also : a substance used for such treatment
Oils give great shine, but I also use them as a pretreatment to prevent damage prior to coloring my natural hair. Deena Campbell


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variants or pre-treatment
: existing or occurring before treatment
the pretreatment period
a pretreatment condition
the patient's pretreatment drug regimen
When treatment was discontinued, the condition of treated nasal muscles quickly returned to pretreatment levels.Michael Vaiman et al.
: of, relating to, or being a pretreatment
a waste pretreatment facility/system
The current chemical pretreatment process uses relatively harsh conditions to break down the tough structure of grass and other
In my weekly Ask a Clean Person columns, I talk a lot about laundry boosters and stain pretreatment products …Jolie Kerr

Examples of pretreatment in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
This hands-on workshop covers basic seed physiology, viability, germination cues and pretreatments, sowing and care. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2024 The company leases a facility connected to Speedway’s treatment plant and brings in various types of waste for pretreatment before disposal. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 26 Feb. 2024 The instructions say to first spray the area with Capture pre-mist carpet pretreatment & spot remover. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 As soon as possible, apply an aerosol pretreatment laundry stain remover for at least one minute before washing. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Sep. 2022 Haji is interested in developing methods to perform pretreatment at high pressures, which could make or break the overall feasibility of the project. IEEE Spectrum, 21 Dec. 2023 Haji said future work will focus on the pretreatment process for water purification, which involves removing large contaminants from the water. IEEE Spectrum, 21 Dec. 2023 But that doesn’t account for the weeks of pretreatment, prolonged hospitalization, and months of recovery required for what can ultimately be a curative therapy. Damian Garde, STAT, 13 Dec. 2023 TxDOT has said pretreatment typically buys time in the early stages of the storm before future applications of chemicals become effective, according to NTSB. Zaeem Shaikh, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2023

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


1899, in the meaning defined above


1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pretreatment was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near pretreatment

Cite this Entry

“Pretreatment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 noun
pre·​treat·​ment -mənt How to pronounce pretreatment (audio)
: preliminary or preparatory treatment
unsuccessful … in preventing tumor growth by pretreatment with vitamin A in miceE. L. Felix et al.


2 of 2 adjective
: occurring in or typical of the period prior to treatment
a patient's pretreatment blood pressure
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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