- to suggest beforehand; be an antecedent figure or type of; foreshadow
- to picture to oneself, or imagine, beforehand
Origin of prefigureMiddle English prefiguren ; from Ecclesiastical Late Latin praefigurare ; from Classical Latin prae-, pre- + figurare, to fashion: see figure
transitive verbpre·fig·ured, pre·fig·ur·ing, pre·fig·ures
- To suggest, indicate, or represent by an antecedent form or model; presage or foreshadow: The paintings of Paul Cézanne prefigured the rise of cubism in the early 1900s.
- To imagine or picture to oneself in advance.
Origin of prefigureMiddle English prefiguren, from Old French prefigurer, from Late Latin praefigūrāre : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin figūrāre, to shape (from figūra, shape; see dheigh- in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present prefigures, present participle prefiguring, simple past and past participle prefigured)
From Middle English prefiguren, from Latin praefigurare, from figurare (“to shape, picture").