post·​lude | \ ˈpōst-ˌlüd How to pronounce postlude (audio) \

Definition of postlude

1 : a closing piece of music especially : an organ voluntary at the end of a church service
2 : a closing phase (as of an epoch or a literary work)

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Did You Know?

Postlude is the lesser-known counterpart to "prelude" - and in fact, "postlude" was created based on the example of "prelude," substituting "post-" for "pre-." At the root of both terms is the Latin verb ludere ("to play"), and a postlude is essentially "something played afterward." Although "prelude" first appeared in print in the 16th century, "postlude" didn't turn up until 1851. "Prelude" was first used in the general sense of "something preliminary" and only later acquired its musical application, while "postlude" developed in the opposite direction, originating as a musical term before broadening to include other kinds of closings. Both words are also related to "interlude," which can refer, among other things, to a musical composition inserted between the parts of a larger whole.

Examples of postlude in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The event is led by Bob Lundy and Elizabeth Yahn Williams with preludes and postludes of pianist Andrew Wong and assisted by artist Marion Wong, illustrator of the HAÏKU for an Artist series. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Patriotic group hosts young musicians for concert," 22 July 2019 The dance now continues and switches gears as sound bites of Ailey and of Mr. Harris present a postlude suggesting them in conversation. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "New Works to Celebrate an Established Company," 12 Dec. 2018 Make a very long weekend of your trip to the Berkshires with three Boston Symphony concerts and, as a postlude on Monday, an evening with the young players of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. New York Times, "6 Classical Music Concerts to See in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 The 14 songs that made up Wednesday’s program were grouped in three sets, with an introduction and postlude, collectively exploring mortal interaction with the gods, the Orestes myth and the deities themselves. John Von Rhein,, "Skilled artists of song honor Schubert's bow to ancient Greek myths," 7 Sep. 2017 Perhaps the best thing to do with GWTW is to ask anyone who shows the film to put together a prelude or postlude — or maybe a little presentation for the intermission that is usually provided — that interrogates the film’s presentation of history. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Yes, Gone With the Wind Is Another Neo-Confederate Monument," 30 Aug. 2017 The six postlude concerts next season will be played by Peter Richard Conte. Peter Dobrin,, "Philadelphia Orchestra gets big bucks for big instrument," 7 Aug. 2017 The postlude concerts were studded with some wonderful surprises. Peter Dobrin,, "Where dwells Rachmaninoff's ghost but in Philadelphia?," 1 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'postlude.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of postlude

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for postlude

post- + -lude (as in prelude)

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Time Traveler for postlude

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The first known use of postlude was in 1851

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Cite this Entry

“Postlude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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