prandial (adj.) Look up prandial at
"pertaining to dinner," 1820, from Latin prandium "late breakfast, luncheon" (see postprandial). OED reports it as "affected or jocose."
prank (n.) Look up prank at
"a ludicrous trick" [Johnson], 1520s, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to obsolete verb prank "decorate, dress up" (mid-15c.), related to Middle Low German prank "display" (compare also Dutch pronken, German prunken "to make a show, to strut"). The verb in the modern sense also is from 1520s. Related: Pranked; pranking.
prankster (n.) Look up prankster at
1927, American English, from prank + -ster.
praseodymium (n.) Look up praseodymium at
rare metallic element, 1885, coined in Modern Latin by discoverer Carl Auer von Welsbach (1858-1929) from Greek prasios "leek-green" (from prason "leek") + didymos "double," the name given to an earth in 1840, so called because it was a "twin" to lanthana. When didymia was further analyzed in the 1880s, it was found to have several components, one of which was characterized by green salts and named accordingly, with the elemental suffix -ium.
prat (n.) Look up prat at
"buttock," 1560s, criminals' slang, of unknown origin. Later in U.S. criminal slang, "hip pocket" (1914), and in British slang "contemptible person" (1968).
prate (v.) Look up prate at
early 15c., from or related to Middle Dutch praten "to chatter" (c. 1400), from a Proto-Germanic imitative root (compare East Frisian proten, Middle Low German praten, Middle High German braten, Swedish prata "to talk, chatter"). Related: Prated; prating. As a noun from 1570s.
pratfall (n.) Look up pratfall at
1939, from prat "buttock" + fall (n.). "Chiefly N. Amer. slang" [OED]. As a verb from 1940.
Pratt Look up Pratt at
the surname apparently is from Old English *prætt (adj.) "cunning, astute;" related to late Old English noun prætt "a trick" (see pretty). As a type of pottery, named for Staffordshire pottery manufacturer Felix Pratt (1780-1859).
prattle (v.) Look up prattle at
1530s, frequentative of prate (q.v.). Related: Prattled; prattling. The noun is attested from 1550s.
pravity (n.) Look up pravity at
"depravity," 1540s, from Latin pravitas "crookedness, distortion, deformity; impropriety, perverseness," from pravus "wrong, bad," literally "crooked."
prawn (n.) Look up prawn at
early 15c., prayne, of unknown origin. "No similar name found in other langs." [OED].
praxis (n.) Look up praxis at
1580s, from Medieval Latin praxis "practice, exercise, action" (mid-13c., opposite of theory), from Greek praxis "practice, action, doing," from stem of prassein, prattein "to do, to act" (see practical).
pray (v.) Look up pray at
early 13c., "ask earnestly, beg," also (c. 1300) "pray to a god or saint," from Old French preier "to pray" (c.900, Modern French prier), from Vulgar Latin *precare (also source of Italian pregare), from Latin precari "ask earnestly, beg, entreat," from *prex (plural preces, genitive precis) "prayer, request, entreaty," from PIE root *prek- "to ask, request, entreat" (cognates: Sanskrit prasna-, Avestan frashna- "question;" Old Church Slavonic prositi, Lithuanian prasyti "to ask, beg;" Old High German frahen, German fragen, Old English fricgan "to ask" a question).

Parenthetical expression I pray you, "please, if you will," attested from 1510s, contracted to pray 16c. Related: Prayed; praying. Praying mantis attested from 1809. The "Gardener's Monthly" of July 1861 lists other names for it as camel cricket, soothsayer, and rear horse.
prayer (n.) Look up prayer at
c. 1300, from Old French prier "prayer, petition, request" (12c., Modern French prière), from Medieval Latin precaria "petition, prayer," noun use of Latin adjective precaria, fem. of precarius "obtained by prayer, given as a favor," from precari "to ask, beg, pray" (see pray). Related: Prayers.

Prayer-book attested from 1590s; prayer-meeting from 1780. To not have a prayer "have no chance" is from 1941.
prayerful (adj.) Look up prayerful at
1620s, from prayer + -ful. Related: Prayerfully; prayerfulness.
pre- Look up pre- at
word-forming element meaning "before," from Old French pre- and Medieval Latin pre-, both from Latin prae (adverb and preposition) "before in time or place," from PIE *peri- (cognates: Oscan prai, Umbrian pre, Sanskrit pare "thereupon," Greek parai "at," Gaulish are- "at, before," Lithuanian pre "at," Old Church Slavonic pri "at," Gothic faura, Old English fore "before"), extended form of root *per- (1) "beyond" (see per).

The Latin word was active in forming verbs. Also see prae-. Sometimes in Middle English muddled with words in pro- or per-.
pre-arrange (v.) Look up pre-arrange at
also prearrange, 1792 (implied in pre-arranged), from pre- + arrange. Related: Pre-arranging.
pre-arrangement (n.) Look up pre-arrangement at
also prearrangement, 1775, from pre- + arrangement.
pre-atomic (adj.) Look up pre-atomic at
"before the atomic age," 1914, in "World Set Free" -- H.G. Wells anticipating the word the future would use to look back at a time defined by events that hadn't yet happened in his day; from pre- + atomic.
pre-date (v.) Look up pre-date at
also predate, 1859, "to antedate, to assign an earlier date to," from pre- + date (n.1) "point in time." As "to exist before," from 1857. Related: Pre-dated; pre-dating.
pre-dawn (adj.) Look up pre-dawn at
1940, from pre- + dawn (n.).
pre-eclampsia (n.) Look up pre-eclampsia at
also preeclampsia, 1903, from pre- + eclampsia. Related: Pre-eclamptic (1896).
pre-elect (v.) Look up pre-elect at
1560s, from pre- + elect (v.). Related: Pre-elected; pre-electing.
pre-election (n.) Look up pre-election at
1580s, from pre- + election.
pre-electric (adj.) Look up pre-electric at
1894, from pre- + electric.
pre-eminence (n.) Look up pre-eminence at
also pre-eminence, c. 1200, from Late Latin praeeminentia "distinction, superiority," from Latin praeeminentem (nominative praeeminens), present participle of praeeminere "transcend, excel," literally "project forward, rise above," from prae "before" (see pre-) + eminere "stand out, project" (see eminent).
pre-eminent (adj.) Look up pre-eminent at
also preeminent, mid-15c., from Medieval Latin preeminentem, from Latin praeeminentem (nominative praeeminens), present participle of praeeminare "to transcend, excel," literally "to project forward, rise above" (see pre-eminence). Related: Pre-eminently; preeminently.
pre-empt (v.) Look up pre-empt at
also preempt, 1830, "secure by pre-emtion," back-formation from pre-emption, originally American English. In the broascasting sense, it is attested from 1965, American English, a euphemism for "cancel." Related: pre-empted; preempted.
pre-emption (n.) Look up pre-emption at
also preemption, c. 1600, literally "the right of purchasing before others," from pre- "before" + emption.
pre-emptive (adj.) Look up pre-emptive at
also preemptive, 1806, "pertaining to preemption;" from pre-emption + -ive. Specifically of an attack on an enemy who is plotting his own attack, 1958, a term from the Cold War. Related: Pre-emptively; preemptively.
pre-emptory (adj.) Look up pre-emptory at
also preemptory, 1822, "relating to pre-emption," from pre-emption + -ory.
pre-engage (v.) Look up pre-engage at
"bind in advance by promise," 1640s, from pre- + engage (v.). Related: Pre-engaged; pre-engaging.
pre-exist (v.) Look up pre-exist at
1590s, from pre- + exist. Related: Pre-existed; pre-existing.
pre-existence (n.) Look up pre-existence at
1650s, from pre- + existence.
pre-existing (adj.) Look up pre-existing at
also preexisting, 1590s, past participle adjective from pre-exist. The medical insurance pre-existing condition is attested from 1942.
pre-law (adj.) Look up pre-law at
"of or pertaining to study in preparation for law school," 1961, American English, from pre- + law (school).
pre-med (n.) Look up pre-med at
"undergraduate student in preparation for medical school," 1934, from premedical. From 1941 as "a major in preparation for medical training." As an adjective from 1936.
pre-op (n.) Look up pre-op at
1913 as short for pre-operative (preparation).
pre-order (v.) Look up pre-order at
1630s, from pre- + order (v.). Marked in OED 2nd ed. as "rare." Related: Pre-ordered; pre-ordering.
pre-owned (adj.) Look up pre-owned at
1961, American English, from pre- + owned. A euphemism for used.
pre-position (v.) Look up pre-position at
"to position beforehand," 1946, from pre- + position (v.). Related: Pre-positioned; pre-positioning.
Pre-Raphaelite (n., adj.) Look up Pre-Raphaelite at
c. 1848, in reference to the "brotherhood" (founded 1847) of Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and others (seven in all) who, encouraged by Ruskin, sought to revive the naturalistic spirit of art in the age before Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520).
pre-record (v.) Look up pre-record at
1937, from pre- + record (v.). Related: Pre-recorded; pre-recording.
pre-registration (n.) Look up pre-registration at
also preregistration, 1901, from pre- + registration.
pre-release (adj.) Look up pre-release at
1916, in reference to motion pictures, from pre- + release (n.).
pre-teen (adj.) Look up pre-teen at
also preteen, 1926, from pre- + teen. As a noun, "pre-teen person," from 1962. Sub-teen (1944) also was used.
preach (v.) Look up preach at
at first in late Old English predician, a loan word from Church Latin; reborrowed 12c. as preachen, from Old French preechier "to preach, give a sermon" (11c., Modern French précher), from Late Latin praedicare "to proclaim publicly, announce" (in Medieval Latin "to preach"), from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + dicare "to proclaim, to say" (see diction). Related: Preached; preaching. To preach to the converted is recorded from 1867 (form preach to the choir attested from 1979).
preacher (n.) Look up preacher at
c. 1200, from Old French preecheor "preacher" (Modern French prêcheur), from Latin praedicatorem (nominative praedicator) "public praiser, eulogist," literally "proclaimer" (see preach). Slang short form preach (n.) is recorded by 1968, American English.
preachment (n.) Look up preachment at
late 14c., "a preaching;" earlier "an annoying or tedious speech" (c. 1300); see preach (v.) + -ment. Related: Preachments.
preachy (adj.) Look up preachy at
1819, from preach + -y (2). Related: Preachiness.