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How to pronounce prefigure (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Dictionary definition of prefigure

To represent or foreshadow something in advance, often through signs, symbols, or events.
"The early symptoms prefigure the onset of a serious illness."


Detailed meaning of prefigure

It involves indicating or suggesting what is to come, serving as a preview or anticipation of future events, outcomes, or developments. When something prefigures, it serves as a prophetic or indicative representation of what will happen or how things will unfold. It can also involve setting the stage or laying the groundwork for future occurrences. Prefiguring can be found in various contexts, including literature, art, religion, and even everyday life. For example, a character's actions in a novel may prefigure their ultimate fate, or a dream may prefigure an upcoming event. This verb carries a sense of providing glimpses or hints of what lies ahead, allowing individuals to mentally prepare or perceive the deeper significance of future events. It involves connecting the past, present, and future, illuminating the threads of continuity and providing insight into the unfolding course of events.

Example sentences containing prefigure

1. The blossoming flowers in spring prefigure the arrival of summer.
2. Her early sketches prefigure the masterpiece she will eventually create.
3. His tireless study sessions prefigure his success in the final exam.
4. The robust training they receive prefigure their resilience in the face of challenges.
5. Their initial victories prefigure a promising career in professional sports.
6. The first few lines of the book subtly prefigure the story's shocking twist.

History and etymology of prefigure

The verb 'prefigure' has its etymology rooted in two Latin words: 'prae,' meaning 'before,' and 'figura,' meaning 'form' or 'shape.' In Latin, 'praefigurare' meant to shape or represent something in advance, often with the implication of foreshadowing future events or conditions. This concept was adopted into Old French as 'prefigurer,' and it later made its way into Middle English as 'prefigure,' retaining its essential meaning of representing or foreshadowing something in advance, typically through signs, symbols, or events. The etymology of 'prefigure' reflects its role in conveying the idea of something taking shape or being foretold before it actually occurs, emphasizing its connection to the anticipation and prediction of future events or circumstances.

Quiz: Find the meaning of prefigure

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Further usage examples of prefigure

1. Early cinema techniques prefigure the sophisticated visual effects used today.
2. The innovative prototypes at the expo prefigure the future of technology.
3. The initial symptoms of the disease can prefigure a more serious condition.
4. The early morning calm often prefigures a hectic day in the city.
5. Their commitment to sustainable practices prefigures a greener future for the company.
6. The first chapter's vivid descriptions prefigure the novel's imaginative journey.
7. The small sparks of protest may prefigure a larger political revolution.
8. The emerging trends in fashion prefigure the styles we'll see next season.
9. The foundation's initial projects prefigure its long-term impact on the community.
10. These small victories for equal rights prefigure a future of greater social justice.
11. The minimalist design of their earlier products prefigures the company's future aesthetic.
12. The intense practice sessions prefigure the band's energetic live performances.
13. Their initial debates prefigure the intellectual rigor of the upcoming conference.
14. Early successes in renewable energy prefigure a future less dependent on fossil fuels.



foreshadow, follow, copy, echo


Prefix pre-, SAT 7 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Consequences and Reactions, Prediction and Foresight

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