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Is prepwork a real word? What about any of these variations: prep-work or prep work? I cannot find any of those in a dictionary.

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    'Prep' is often used as an abbreviation for 'preparation' or 'preparatory', so 'prep. work' is a phrase rather than a single word. – Kate Bunting Apr 27 '18 at 12:25
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    "Prep" is still somewhat informal but is widely used, and it is recognized by most native English speakers. It is normally spelled without the terminating period. – Hot Licks Apr 27 '18 at 12:34
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    'Prepwork 'is a jargon word ( terminology of a special activity or group) at this time. It seems to have developed from 'groundwork'; preparation made beforehand. 'Prepwork' usage hasn't become popular enough to be included in a dictionary yet. – Norman Edward Apr 27 '18 at 13:11
  • There is also potential confusion; as ODO says, 'prep' has long been used as an informal noun in its own right: << prep2 [noun] informal 1 British mass noun: (in an independent school) schoolwork that is set to be done outside normal school hours. >> – Edwin Ashworth Apr 27 '18 at 13:33
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    And don't forget that "prep" with regard to the culinary arts has been in use for probably a century. – Hot Licks Apr 27 '18 at 21:44
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I have not been able to find "prepwork" written as a single word in any dictionary I checked (and I checked a number of dictionaries, including the OED). However, several dictionaries list "prep" as an adjective:

adj.
Preparatory: a college prep course; did extensive prep work for the interview.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (Via The Free Dictionary)

So, if we go by what the dictionary says, "prep work" (with a space) is correct.


Looking at usage, some people will write it instead as one word, probably by analogy with other words, such as homework and artwork. Here are some examples:

(It's also worth noting that there is a "personal research assistant" called PrepWork, which had some hits when I searched. If it's CamelCased, it probably refers to this.)

  • Additional: ngram viewer shows one hyphenated instance and no instances as a single word. – TripeHound Apr 30 '18 at 11:09
  • I have heard this term uttered fairly often, but obviously hard to say if it was prep work or prepwork! – k1eran May 1 '18 at 0:57
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'Prepwork 'is a jargon word ( terminology of a special activity or group) at this time. It seems to have developed from 'groundwork'; preparation made beforehand. 'Prepwork' usage hasn't become popular enough to be included in a dictionary yet. Source

  • and if there is no citation for your answer it would be best to delete and place same in comments. – lbf Apr 27 '18 at 17:20
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    You don't deserve upvotes for simply copying a comment, especially when it's wrong. Prepwork isn't jargon because it's just a generic word, it's not limited to any field like jargon would be. – curiousdannii Apr 29 '18 at 12:54
  • -1. A citation should a link to reputable website, not a link to a comment on this page! – k1eran Apr 30 '18 at 12:38
  • What citation?? – user234461 Apr 30 '18 at 12:50
  • @user234461 the provided link is just to a comment above – k1eran Apr 30 '18 at 23:33

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