Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. 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.
  • transitive v. To position or place in position in advance: artillery that was prepositioned at strategic points in the desert.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.
  • v. To place in a location before some other event occurs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A word 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; -- so called because usually placed before the word with which it is phrased
  • n. A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. (prē-pō˙-zish′ on). The act of preposing, or placing before or in front of something else.
  • n. In grammar, something preposed; a prefixed element; a prefix; one of a body of elements (by origin, words of direction, having an adverbial character) in our family of languages often used as prefixes to verbs and verbal derivatives; especially, an indeclinable part of speech regularly placed before and governing a noun in an oblique case (or a member of the sentence having a substantive value), and showing its relation to a verb, or an adjective, or another noun, as in, of, from, to, by, etc. Abbreviated preposition
  • n. A proposition; exposition; discourse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (linguistics) the placing of one linguistic element before another (as placing a modifier before the word it modifies in a sentence or placing an affix before the base to which it is attached)
  • n. a function word that combines with a noun or pronoun or noun phrase to form a prepositional phrase that can have an adverbial or adjectival relation to some other word

Etymologies

Middle English preposicioun, from Old French preposicion, from Latin praepositiō, praepositiōn-, a putting before, preposition (translation of Greek prothesis), from praepositus, past participle of praepōnere, to put in front : prae-, pre- + pōnere, to put.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin praepositio, from praeponere (to place before); prae (before) + ponere (to put, place); compare French préposition. (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. (Wiktionary)
From pre- + position (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • Exhausted after a long day of insisting that one must never end a sentence with a preposition, the English teacher took a book about Australia up to her daughter's bedroom.

    "Mommy," said the girl, "what did you bring that book I didn't want to be read to out of about Down Under up for?"

    (via futilitycloset.com)

    July 29, 2009

  • If you want to see 'TWO ADJECTIVE NOUNS VERBING ADVERBLY PREPOSITION EACH OTHER, peek here.

    February 3, 2009

  • A snobbish East Coast English Professor is visiting a colleague at a rural university in the Midwest. The colleague takes him to the local cafe for breakfast and introduces him to a few locals she's gotten to know over the years, including a farmer.

    Farmer: Glad to meet you. Where do you come from?

    Professor: It is improper to end a sentence with a preposition.

    Farmer: I'm very sorry. Where do you come from, a**hole?

    November 18, 2008

  • In prison for his part in the infamous Loeb and Leopold murder case, Richard Loeb was murdered by another prisoner after having allegedly made sexual advances on him.

    The Chicago Daily News reported the incident as follows: "Richard Loeb, despite his erudition, today ended his sentence with a proposition."

    November 18, 2008

  • Hives give me hives.

    October 5, 2007

  • This page gives me hives.

    October 4, 2007

  • What did you bring that book I did not want to be read to out of up for?

    October 4, 2007

  • The Naughty Preposition
    --Morris Bishop

    I lately lost a preposition:
    It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
    And angrily I cried: "Perdition!
    Up from out of in under there!

    Correctness is my vade mecum,
    And straggling phrases I abhor;
    And yet I wondered: "What should he come
    Up from out of in under for?"

    July 20, 2007

  • This rule is something up with which we should not put.

    January 26, 2007

  • A preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.

    January 25, 2007