Is there a word for:

'have to do first'

For example I can't do this task because I have a task that I have to do first. That task that I have to do first is a "_____ task".

The second task, which is blocked, is contingent or reliant upon the first. I don't want to call the first task independent or sovereign because the only reason I am doing the first task, is to get to the second. They are still linked, but have to be completed in a certain order.

I thought about using the term 'preceding' but I want to emphasise not just the positioning, but the fact that the first task actively blocks the second.

  • 5
    The first is a prerequisite task
    – Jim
    Apr 26 '17 at 4:26
  • 1
    How about "primary task"?
    – Peter
    Apr 26 '17 at 5:08
  • yak shaving.
    – dangph
    Apr 26 '17 at 9:05
  • Preemptory or pre-emptive might suffice
    – Jatb42
    Apr 26 '17 at 11:49

You could use critical or perhaps high-priority but those don't indicate that it is a predecessor to your second task, so I think Jim's suggestion of prerequisite might work for you.

Requisite might be an option as well:



Made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations.

‘the application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid’

or perhaps imperative:


1 Of vital importance; crucial.

‘immediate action was imperative’

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