A correspondent writes to say he has encountered this sentence: there'll be a pre-council meeting for the monthly assembly this Wednesday at 9:00 a.m and wonders what pre-council means. He can't find it in dictionaries.
It is an odd usage, indeed. But it's common enough. Here's an example I just found on the Web:
The City Council of the City of Irondale, Alabama met in Pre-Council Session at the City Hall at 6:00 p.m. on the 2nd day of September, 2008. The Council reviewed each item on the Agenda and decided that the following item should be added to the Agenda: Item #3 Consider Resolution No. 2008R58 to define boundaries for Downtown Redevelopment Authority area. The City Council then met in Regular Session at the City Hall of said City on the 2nd day of September, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., the regular time and place for holding such meetings.
So clearly it means 'a council meeting which takes place before the main council meeting'. It seems to be shorthand for pre-council meeting meeting. People don't like that kind of repetition. Compare PIN number, which I don't suppose would ever be said personal identification number number.
So we'll never hear or read a pre-council meeting meeting? Wrong. I just looked in Google and found three instances. The first uses hyphens to get round the awkwardness.
Apr. 10--So what will it be -- roller-skate, ice skate or cheapskate? And in what order? Columbus Council will ponder the possibilities Tuesday in an 8 a.m. pre-council-meeting meeting in a little conference room on the north side of its plaza-level chambers in the Government Center.
But the contributor to a forum discussion in Nebraska is evidently worried by it:
Thanks to all that made it to the pre-council meeting meeting (huh?) last weekend to help get organized, as well as those that made it to the city council meeting last night.
And in another American blog we get:
monday - pre council meeting meeting. hmmm, i need an explanation for that man.
So, just one example without a comment. Doesn't look as if it's going to catch on.