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


noun pro·le·gom·e·non \ˌprō-li-ˈgä-mə-ˌnän, -nən\

Definition of prolegomenon



play \-nə\
  1. :  prefatory remarks; specifically :  a formal essay or critical discussion serving to introduce and interpret an extended work


play \-nəs\ adjective

Did You Know?

Prolegomenon is the singular and "prolegomena" is the plural of this scholarly word, though people sometimes mistakenly interpret "prolegomena" as the singular. The word, which comes from the Greek verb prolegein ("to say beforehand"), first appeared in print around 1652. It has appeared in the titles of noteworthy scholarly and philosophical works, but it has never been as common in general use as its older cousin "prologue." "Prologue" usually refers to an introduction to a literary work or to a speech addressed to the audience at the beginning of a play. "Prolegomenon" is most often used of the introduction to a work of scholarly analysis. Both words can also be used in a broader sense to refer generally to something that serves as an introduction.

Origin and Etymology of prolegomenon

Greek, neuter present passive participle of prolegein to say beforehand, from pro- before + legein to say — more at legend

First Known Use: circa 1652

Seen and Heard

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


of a yellow-green or bluish-gray color

Get Word of the Day daily email!