pref·​a·​to·​ry ˈpre-fə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce prefatory (audio)
: of, relating to, or constituting a preface
prefatory remarks
: located in front

Examples of prefatory in a Sentence

The speaker made some prefatory remarks. Each chapter in the book has a prefatory quotation.
Recent Examples on the Web As Chin writes in a prefatory author’s note, her family’s history traveled down to her primarily via oral history. Rhoda Feng, Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2023 But even before her characters intersect, familiar objects — a dreidel, nesting dolls, exquisitely carved chess pieces — keep popping up in prefatory monologues and the stories themselves. Julia M. Klein,, 23 Mar. 2023 Venice opens with a prefatory poem recalling a trip from Beirut to Cyprus, the birthplace of Aphrodite. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, 7 Sep. 2022 What might have gone down as an odd concert experience was energized by Taylor’s prefatory joke inviting us to imagine FBI agents singing this song during their recent search at Mar-a-Lago. W. Anthony Sheppard,, 22 Aug. 2022 After this prefatory video ends, a door automatically slides open, giving access to a chamber that evokes the exterior of Tut’s royal tomb, the only largely intact one ever found in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 These prefatory remarks are by way of setting up the following chronology — without any claims of causation. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 The chronicle that results, as Mitenbuler explains in a prefatory note, also appears at a moment when, for the first time in the history of the form, everything is available. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2020 Ferry provides some heartfelt prefatory remarks on meter and the aims of the translation, but there is no formal introduction about the poem’s historical setting or literary tradition, no glossary or list of names. Denis Feeney, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prefatory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin praefari

First Known Use

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prefatory was in 1675

Dictionary Entries Near prefatory

Cite this Entry

“Prefatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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