noun Abbr. prep.
A word or phrase placed typically before a substantive and indicating the relation of that substantive to a verb, an adjective, or another substantive, as English at, by, with, from, and in regard to.
Origin of preposition
Middle English preposicioun from
Old French preposicion from
Latin praepositiō praepositiōn- a putting before, preposition
( translation of
) from praepositus past participle of praepōnere to put in front prae- pre- pōnere to put
; see apo-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: It was John Dryden who first promulgated the doctrine that a preposition may not be used at the end of a sentence, probably on the basis of a specious analogy to Latin. Grammarians in the 1700s refined the doctrine, and the rule became a venerated maxim of schoolroom grammar. There has been some retreat from this position in recent years, however—what amounts to a recognition of the frequency with which prepositions end sentences in English. In fact, English syntax not only allows but sometimes even requires final placement of the preposition, as in We have much to be thankful for and That depends on what you believe in. Efforts to rewrite such sentences to place the preposition elsewhere can have stilted and even comical results, as is demonstrated in the saying (often attributed, probably falsely, to Winston Churchill) “This is the kind of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put.” • Even sticklers for the traditional rule can have no grounds for criticizing sentences such as I don't know where she will end up and It's the most curious book I've ever run across. In these examples, up and across are adverbs (or more properly, what linguists call particles), not prepositions. One sure sign that this is so is that these examples cannot be transformed into sentences with prepositional phrases. It is simply not grammatical English to say I don't know up where she will end and It's the most curious book across which I have ever run.
transitive verbpre·po·si·tioned, pre·po·si·tion·ing, pre·po·si·tions,
To position or place in position in advance: artillery that was prepositioned at strategic points in the desert.
- (grammar) Any of a closed class of non-inflecting words typically employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word: a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word.
From Latin praepositio, from praeponere (to place before); prae (before) + ponere (to put, place); compare French prÃ©position. (See position, and compare provost.) So called because it is usually placed before the word with which it is phrased, as in a bridge of iron, he comes from town, it is good for food, he escaped by running.
(third-person singular simple present prepositions, present participle prepositioning, simple past and past participle prepositioned)
- To place in a location before some other event occurs.
- It is important to preposition the material before turning on the machine.
From pre- + position