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- (source also of Oscan prai, Umbrian pre, Sanskrit pare "thereupon," Greek parai "at," Gaulish are- "at, before," Lithuanian prie "at," Old Church Slavonic pri "at," Gothic faura, Old English fore "before"), extended form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "beyond, in front of, before."
The Latin word was active in forming verbs. Also see prae-. Sometimes in Middle English muddled with words in pro- or per-.
"of or pertaining to marriage or the wedding ceremony," late 15c., from French nuptial, or directly from Latin nuptialis "pertaining to marriage," from nuptiae "a wedding," from nupta, fem. past participle of nubere "to marry, get married, wed, take as a husband," which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps it is from a PIE root *sneubh- "to marry, wed" (source also of Old Church Slavonic snubiti "to love, woo," Czech snoubiti "to seek in marriage," Slovak zasnubit "to betroth"). De Vaan finds the old theory that the verb nubere is literally "to cover, veil oneself" (as a bride) semantically attractive but unproven (compare Latin obnubere "to veil, cover the head," from nubes "cloud"). Related: Nuptially.
Nuptial number, a number obscurely described at the beginning of the eighth book of the "Republic" of Plato, and said to preside over the generation of men. The number meant may be 864. [Century Dictionary]