One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of the period prior to the establishment of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 from the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia; (also occasionally) prior to a particular province or territory subsequently joining this confederation. In later use also more generally: of or relating to the period prior to any confederation.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Times. From pre- + confederation.
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