preamble

noun
pre·​am·​ble | \ ˈprē-ˌam-bəl How to pronounce preamble (audio) , prē-ˈam-\

Definition of preamble

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of preamble in a Sentence

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, …”. His early travels were just a preamble to his later adventures.

Recent Examples on the Web

This motion is a precursor to making history as this week's robotic arm test is a preamble to the mission’s ultimate goal—when the spacecraft will descend onto an asteroid's surface to collect a sample. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Spacecraft That's About to Play Tag with an Asteroid," 16 Nov. 2018 After her father, King Felipe, read the Constitution's preamble, the Princess stepped up to the podium. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Spain's 13-Year-Old Princess Leonor Makes Her First Public Speech," 31 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately her claim was preamble to a typically vague, noncommittal GM answer to an admirably precise question. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Detroit vs. Protectionism?," 4 Sep. 2018 Non-contentious provisions, including the preamble, would be tackled first before the touchy issues, including whether the pact should be legally binding and its geographic scope, to prevent the talks from stalling early, another diplomat said. Jim Gomez And Annabelle Liang, Fox News, "Asia diplomats press N. Korea to deliver on anti-nuke vows," 4 Aug. 2018 Cho Oyu was only a preamble for the two weeks ahead. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 2018 Trump began his proclamation with a two-sentence preamble. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Following criticism, President Trump orders flags to half-staff for Capital Gazette shooting victims," 3 July 2018 Everything's fixed, and re-fixed, and fixed again in the preamble to the race. Maya Singer, Vogue, "A Weekend Under the Tuscan Sun with Rosetta Getty at the Palio Horse Race," 3 July 2018 In turn, the exhibit is a preamble to the September publication of Talamon’s forthcoming book from Taschen Publishing,Bruce W. Talamon: Soul, R&B, and Funk Photographs 1972-1982. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Grammy Museum Spotlights Photographer Bruce Talamon in New Soul, R&B and Funk Exhibit," 29 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of preamble

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preamble

Statistics for preamble

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preamble

The first known use of preamble was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preamble

preamble

noun

English Language Learners Definition of preamble

somewhat formal
: 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

preamble

noun
pre·​am·​ble | \ ˈprē-ˌam-bəl How to pronounce preamble (audio) \

Kids Definition of preamble

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

preamble

noun
pre·​am·​ble | \ ˈprē-ˌam-bəl, prē-ˈam- How to pronounce preamble (audio) \

Legal Definition of preamble

: 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

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

History and Etymology for preamble

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on preamble

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

marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!