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proto-

before vowels prot-, word-forming element in compounds of Greek origin meaning "first, source, parent, preceding, earliest form, original, basic," from Greek prōto-, from prōtos "first" (from PIE *pre-, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "before, first"). It is also used in forming words in the sciences and to form compounds having historical reference (such as Proto-Indo-European).

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