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

prologue

play
noun pro·logue \ˈprō-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\

Simple Definition of prologue

  • : an introduction to a book, play, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of prologue

  1. 1 :  the preface or introduction to a literary work

  2. 2 a :  a speech often in verse addressed to the audience by an actor at the beginning of a play b :  the actor speaking such a prologue

  3. 3 :  an introductory or preceding event or development

Examples of prologue in a sentence

  1. the prologue to his autobiography

  2. <unfortunately, the burglary, which he committed while still a teen, was but a prologue to a wasted life of crime>



Did You Know?

In ancient Greek drama, the prologos (a word that means basically "speaking before") was the opening portion of the play, before the entry of the all-important chorus. It might be spoken by a single actor, maybe playing a god, who would "set the scene" for the audience. Playwrights today instead often provide the same kind of "scene-setting" information through dialogue near the play's beginning; in movies, it may appear (as in the "Star Wars" series) in the form of actual written text. In a nonfiction book, the lead-in is now usually called a preface or introduction; novels rarely provide any introduction at all. Still, prologue remains a useful word for nonliterary purposes. The saying "The past is prologue" tells us that, in real life, almost everything can be a prologue to what follows it.

Variants of prologue

also

prolog

Origin and Etymology of prologue

Middle English prolog, from Anglo-French prologue, from Latin prologus preface to a play, from Greek prologos part of a Greek play preceding the entry of the chorus, from pro- before + legein to speak — more at pro-, legend


First Known Use: 14th century



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommodate acommadate accomodate accommodate
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