Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

preface

play
noun pref·ace \ˈpre-fəs\

Simple Definition of preface

  • : an introduction to a book or speech

Full Definition of preface

  1. 1 often capitalized :  a variable doxology beginning with the Sursum Corda and ending with the Sanctus in traditional eucharistic liturgies

  2. 2 :  the introductory remarks of a speaker or author

  3. 3 :  approach, preliminary

Examples of preface

  1. The book's preface was written by the author.

  2. <a noted critic has written a short preface to her story to explain some of the historical background>



Origin of preface

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin prephatia, alteration of Latin praefation-, praefatio foreword, from praefari to say beforehand, from prae- pre- + fari to say — more at ban


First Known Use: 14th century


2

preface

verb pref·ace

Simple Definition of preface

  • : to introduce (a piece of writing, a speech, a remark, etc.) by writing or saying something

Full Definition of preface

pref·acedpref·ac·ing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to make introductory remarks

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to say or write as preface <a note prefaced to the manuscript>

  5. 2 :  precede, herald

  6. 3 :  to introduce by or begin with a preface

  7. 4 :  to stand in front of <a porch prefaces the entrance>

  8. 5 :  to be a preliminary to

pref·ac·er noun

1619

First Known Use of preface

1619



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ