predacious (adj.) Look up predacious at
also predaceous, 1713, from stem of predation (Latin praedari) + -acious.
predate (v.) Look up predate at
"to seek prey," 1974, a back-formation from predator, etc. Related: Predated; predating. For the word meaning "antedate; pre-exist," see pre-date.
predation (n.) Look up predation at
late 15c., "act of plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedationem (nominative praedatio) "a plundering, act of taking booty," from praedari "to rob, to plunder," from praeda "plunder, booty, prey" (see prey (n.)). Zoological sense recorded from 1907.
predator (n.) Look up predator at
1862, from Latin praedator "plunderer," from praedari "to rob" (see predation). Originally Predatores (Swainson, 1840) used of insects that ate other insects.
predatory (adj.) Look up predatory at
1580s, "involving plundering," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). Of animals, from 1660s.
predecease (v.) Look up predecease at
"to die before," 1590s, from pre- + decease (v.). Related: Predeceased; predeceasing.
predecessor (n.) Look up predecessor at
late 14c., "one who has held an office or position before the present holder," from Old French predecesseor "forebear" and directly from Late Latin praedecessorem (nominative praedecessor), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + decessor "retiring official," from decess-, past participle stem of decedere "go away," also "die" (see decease (n.)). Meaning "ancestor, forefather" is recorded from c. 1400.
predestination (n.) Look up predestination at
mid-14c., "the action of God in foreordaining certain of mankind through grace to salvation or eternal life," from Old French predestinacion and directly from Church Latin praedestinationem (nominative praedestinatio) "a determining beforehand," noun of action from past participle stem of praedestinare "set before as a goal; appoint or determine beforehand," from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + destinare "appoint, determine" (see destiny). First used in theological sense by Augustine; given prominence by Calvin.
predestine (v.) Look up predestine at
late 14c., "to foreordain," from Old French prédestiner (12c.) "predestine, ordain" (of God) and directly from Latin praedestinare "determine beforehand" (see predestination). Related: Predestined; predestining; predestinate.
predetermination (n.) Look up predetermination at
1630s; see predetermine + -ation.
predetermine (v.) Look up predetermine at
1620s, originally theological, from pre- + determine or else from Late Latin praedeterminare (Augustine). Related: Predetermined; predetermining; predeterminate.
predicament (n.) Look up predicament at
early 15c., "category, class; one of Aristotle's 10 categories," from Medieval Latin predicamentum, from Late Latin praedicamentum "quality, category, something predicted, that which is asserted," from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare (see predicate). Praedicamentum is a loan-translation of Greek kategoria, Aristotle's word. The meaning "unpleasant situation" is first recorded 1580s.
predicate (n.) Look up predicate at
mid-15c., a term in logic, from Middle French predicat and directly from Medieval Latin predicatum, from Latin praedicatum "that which is said of the subject," noun use of neuter past participle of praedicare "assert, proclaim, declare publicly," from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim" (see diction). Grammatical sense is from 1630s. Related: Predicative; predicator; predicatory.
predicate (adj.) Look up predicate at
1887, from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)).
predicate (v.) Look up predicate at
1550s, back formation from predication, or else from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "proclaim, announce" (see predicate (n.)). Related: Predicated; predicating. Phrase predicated on "founded on, based on," is American English, first recorded 1766.
predication (n.) Look up predication at
early 14c., from Old French predicacion (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin predicationem, from Latin praedicationem (nominative praedicatio) "a foretelling, prediction," noun of action from past participle stem of praedicare (see predicate (n.)).
predict (v.) Look up predict at
1620s (implied in predicted), "foretell, prophesy," a back formation from prediction or else from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicere "foretell, advise, give notice," from prae "before" (see pre-) + dicere "to say" (see diction). Related: Predicted; predicting.
predictability (n.) Look up predictability at
1855, from predictable + -ity.
predictable (adj.) Look up predictable at
1820, from predict + -able. Related: Predictably, which in the sense "as could have been predicted" is attested from 1914.
prediction (n.) Look up prediction at
1560s, from Middle French prédiction and directly from Medieval Latin predictionem (nominative predictio), from Latin praedictio "a foretelling," noun of action from past participle stem of praedicere (see predict).
predictive (adj.) Look up predictive at
1650s, from Late Latin praedictivus, from praedict-, past participle stem of praedicere (see predict).
predictor (n.) Look up predictor at
1650s, from Medieval Latin praedictor, agent noun from praedicere (see predict). Statistical sense is from 1950.
predilection (n.) Look up predilection at
1742, from French prédilection (16c.), noun of action from Medieval Latin praedilectus, past participle of prediligere "prefer before others," from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + diligere "choose, love" (see diligent).
predispose (v.) Look up predispose at
1640s, "to put into a certain frame of mind," perhaps a back-formation from predisposition. Related: Predisposed; predisposing.
predisposition (n.) Look up predisposition at
1620s, from pre- + disposition.
prednisone (n.) Look up prednisone at
1955, probably from elements of pregnadiene (from pregnane, name of the compound from which pregnancy hormones were derived, from the Latin stem of pregnancy) + ending from cortisone.
predominance (n.) Look up predominance at
1590s; see predominant + -ance.
predominant (adj.) Look up predominant at
1570s, from Middle French prédominant (14c.), from Medieval Latin *praedominantem (nominative praedominans), present participle of *praedominare, from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + dominari "to rule" (see dominate). Related: Predominantly.
predominate (v.) Look up predominate at
1590s, from Medieval Latin predominatus, past participle of predominare (see predominant). Related: Predominated; predominating; predominatingly.
preemie (n.) Look up preemie at
"baby born prematurely," 1927, premy, American English shortening of premature + -y (2). Spelling with -ie attested from 1949.
preen (v.) Look up preen at
"to trim, to dress up," late 14c., perhaps a variation of Middle English proynen, proinen "trim the feather with the beak" (see prune (v.)); or perhaps from Old French poroindre "anoint before," and Old French proignier "round off, prune." Middle English prene (from Old English preon, a general Germanic word) meant "to pin," and probably influenced the form of this word. Watkins, however, connects it with Latin unguere "to smear, anoint."

Because of the popularity of falconry, bird activities formerly were more closely observed and words for them were more precise in English than today.
Youre hawke proynith and not pikith and she prenyth not bot whan she begynnyth at hir leggys, and fetcheth moystour like oyle at hir taill. ["Book of St. Albans," 1486]
prefab (adj.) Look up prefab at
1937, short for prefabricated (see prefabricate). As a noun, "prefabricated housing," from 1942.
prefabricate (v.) Look up prefabricate at
1919 (implied in prefabricated), from pre- + fabricate (v.). Related: Prefabricating.
preface (n.) Look up preface at
late 14c., from Old French preface "opening part of sung devotions" (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prefatia, from Latin praefationem (nominative praefatio) "fore-speaking, introduction," in Medieval Latin "prologue," noun of action from past participle stem of praefari "to say beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + fari "speak" (see fame (n.)).
preface (v.) Look up preface at
1610s, from preface (n.). Related: Prefaced; prefacing.
prefatory (adj.) Look up prefatory at
1670s, from Latin praefat-, past participle stem of praefari (see preface (n.)) + -ory.
prefect (n.) Look up prefect at
mid-14c., "civil or military official," from Old French prefect (12c., Modern French préfet) and directly from Latin praefectus "public overseer, superintendent, director," noun use of past participle of praeficere "to put in front, to set over, put in authority," from prae "in front, before" (see pre-) + root of facere (past participle factus) "to perform" (see factitious). Spelling restored from Middle English prefet. Meaning "administrative head of the Paris police" is from 1800; meaning "senior pupil designated to keep order in an English school" is from 1864. Related: Prefectorial.
prefectural (adj.) Look up prefectural at
1807, from prefecture + -al (1).
prefecture (n.) Look up prefecture at
"administrative district of a prefect," mid-15c., from Middle French préfecture and directly from Latin praefectura, or assembled locally from prefect + -ure.
prefer (v.) Look up prefer at
late 14c., "to put forward or advance in rank or fortune, to promote," from Old French preferer (14c.) and directly from Latin praeferre "place or set before, carry in front," from prae "before" (see pre-) + ferre "to carry, to place" (see infer). Meaning "to esteem (something) more than others" also is recorded from late 14c. Original sense in English is preserved in preferment.
preferable (adj.) Look up preferable at
1640s, from or on model of French préférable, from préfér (see prefer). OED notes preferrable is better English but has not prevailed. Related: Preferably.
preference (n.) Look up preference at
mid-15c., "advancement in position or status;" 1650s as "act of prefering," from Middle French preference (14c., Modern French préférence), from Medieval Latin preferentia, from past participle stem of Latin praeferrere (see prefer). Sense of "that which one prefers" is from 1852.
preferential (adj.) Look up preferential at
1805, from Medieval Latin preferentia, from Latin praeferre (see prefer) + -al (1).
preferment (n.) Look up preferment at
mid-15c., from prefer + -ment.
prefiguration (n.) Look up prefiguration at
late 14c., from Late Latin praefigurationem (nominative praefiguratio), noun of action from past participle stem of praefigurare "to prefigure" (see prefigure).
prefigure (v.) Look up prefigure at
early 15c., from Late Latin praefigurare "to prefigure," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + figurare "to form, shape," from figura "a shape, form, figure" (see figure (n.)). Related: Prefigured; prefiguring.
prefix (n.) Look up prefix at
1640s, from Latin praefixum, noun use of neuter past participle of praefigere "fix in front, fasten on before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + root of figere "to fasten, fix" (see fix (v.)).
prefix (v.) Look up prefix at
early 15c., "appoint beforehand," from Middle French prefixer, from pre- (see pre-) + fixer (see fix (v.)). Meaning "to place at the beginning" is from 1530s; of words or parts of words from c. 1600. Related: Prefixed; prefixing.
preflight (adj.) Look up preflight at
also pre-flight, 1918 with reference to aviation, from pre- + flight (n.).
preformed (adj.) Look up preformed at
c. 1600, from Latin praeformare or else from pre- + formed (see form (v.)). Of plastic and synthetic products, from 1918.