Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

preamble

play
noun pre·am·ble \ˈprē-ˌam-bəl, prē-ˈ\

Simple Definition of preamble

  • : a statement that is made at the beginning of something (such as a legal document) and usually gives the reasons for the parts that follow

  • : something that comes before and leads to something else

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of preamble

  1. 1 :  an introductory statement; especially :  the introductory part of a constitution or statute that usually states the reasons for and intent of the law

  2. 2 :  an introductory fact or circumstance; especially :  one indicating what is to follow

Examples of preamble in a sentence

  1. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins by saying We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, ….

  2. His early travels were just a preamble to his later adventures.



Origin of preamble

Middle English, from Middle French preambule, from Medieval Latin preambulum, from Late Latin, neuter of praeambulus walking in front of, from Latin prae- + ambulare to walk


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with preamble



PREAMBLE Defined for Kids

preamble

play
noun pre·am·ble \ˈprē-ˌam-bəl\

Definition of preamble for Students

  1. :  an introduction (as to a law) that often gives the reasons for what follows




Law Dictionary

preamble

play
noun pre·am·ble \ˈprē-ˌam-bəl, prē-ˈam-\

Legal Definition of preamble

  1. :  an introductory statement (as to a contract); especially :  the introductory part of a constitution or statute that usually states the reasons for and intent of the law



Additional Notes on preamble

While preambles do not state law and therefore are not judicially enforceable, they are used to determine legislative intent when interpreting statutes.

Origin of preamble

Middle French preambule, from Medieval Latin preambulum, from Late Latin, neuter of preambulus walking in front of, from Latin prae- + ambulare to walk



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up preamble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce disapprove perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ