Definition of prefigure in English:

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Pronunciation: /prēˈfiɡyər/


[with object]
1Be an early indication or version of (something): the Hussite movement prefigured the Reformation
More example sentences
  • It was prefigured by earlier productions in 1911 and 1916.
  • Yet his opposition to racism won him strong support among northern free blacks, particularly in New England, and in this respect his activities prefigured the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
  • Yet it contains an important truth - that the style and tone of a government are set early and do prefigure future actions.
foreshadow, presage, be a harbinger of, herald
literary foretoken
2 archaic Imagine beforehand: she had prefigured her small pilgrimage as made in solitude
More example sentences
  • Mead describes human existence as evolving toward an open future that cannot be prefigured with any finality.



Pronunciation: /prēˌfiɡyəˈrāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • One could view such Pentecostal sectarian movements as prefigurations of contemporary developments.
  • Cooper's idea was for ‘a powerful beast from a lost world… giving a hint, a prefiguration of the dawn of man.‘
  • The ‘cumulative effect’ Carter speaks of is prefiguration.


Pronunciation: /prēˈfiɡyərədiv/
Example sentences
  • Within this framework, much of the First Testament has functioned in a typological or prefigurative manner, or as a shadow-like version of the truth God revealed in the gospel.
  • All of this material becomes part of the prefigurative, the everyday world from which program creators construct narrative.
  • Indeed, the prefigurative approach embraced by Kovel is an essential step forward.


Example sentences
  • The most enthusiastic Europeans ‘Venusians,’ see the present European Union as the model, indeed the prefigurement, of a world run by ‘soft power.’
  • He does not look for prefigurement of the Gospel even in the Old Testament.


Late Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin praefigurare 'represent beforehand', from prae 'before' + figurare 'to form, fashion'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·fig·ure

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