Just want to know the difference between 'packaged' and 'prepackaged' as adjectives.

I came across the term 'prepackaged meal' as a synonym for TV dinner, and this made me wonder if the prefix 'pre' is somewhat redundant. According to dictionary definition 'Prepackaged' means the food or goods sold have already between packaged/wrapped before display. Yet Cambridge Dictionary gave the same definition to the adjective 'packaged' - "sold already prepared in a container, usually one made of paper or cardboard".

So what exactly is the difference and why people use the term prepackaged instead of packaged to describe TV dinner?

Personally I think 'package' already has the connotation the prefix 'pre' offers, so what's the point of adding it?


Packaged describes the individual items one could buy to make a dinner.

Prepackaged means the different parts have already been put together in a single package for you.

since it is "pre-assembled".

They might all be referred to generally as packaged goods.

The same is true for vacations. You can put together your own vacation package, choose the hotel, the destination, the airlines, the rental car yourself, or get a prepackaged vacation where everything is all inclusive and already chosen for you, e.g. Club Med.

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