Definition of pre-contract in English:



  • 1A pre-existing contract of marriage. Now chiefly historical.

  • 2Generally. Any contract or agreement previously entered into, especially one which precludes the making of another, similar contract.


  • 1with object (Usually in pass.). To engage (a person) in a previous contract of marriage; to affiance or betroth beforehand. Now chiefly historical.

  • 2with object To establish (an agreement, etc.) by contract in advance. Also without object: to enter into a contract beforehand; to agree, arrange, or purchase in advance.


Late 15th century; earliest use found in Rolls of Parliament. From pre- + contract, after post-classical Latin precontractus pre-existing contract of marriage and Anglo-Norman precontrat, precontract, precontrait<br>late 16th century; earliest use found in Parish Documents York. From pre- + contract, perhaps after post-classical Latin precontrahere to make a pre-contract of marriage.