preliminary

noun
pre·​lim·​i·​nary | \ pri-ˈli-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce preliminary (audio) \
plural preliminaries

Definition of preliminary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that precedes or is introductory or preparatory: such as
a : a preliminary scholastic examination
b preliminaries plural, British : front matter
c : a preliminary heat or trial (as of a race)
d : a minor match preceding the main event (as of a boxing card)

preliminary

adjective

Definition of preliminary (Entry 2 of 2)

: coming before and usually forming a necessary prelude to something else preliminary studies preliminary results

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preliminary

Adjective

preliminarily \ pri-​ˌli-​mə-​ˈner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce preliminarily (audio) \ adverb

Examples of preliminary in a Sentence

Noun

a meeting to discuss seating arrangements that was merely a preliminary to the formal negotiating sessions

Adjective

Preliminary findings show that the drug could help patients with skin cancer. The team was eliminated in the preliminary round of the tournament. research that is preliminary to the study
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

York alumnus Matt Plowman, a Michigan junior, finished 22nd in the 800-meter preliminaries, while Niles North alumnus and graduate student Micah Beller tallied a 14th-place finish in the 5,000 meters. Sam Brief, chicagotribune.com, "College notes: Locals guide Lake Forest College men's golf to conference title," 16 May 2018 Having never surpassed the divisional preliminaries in his career, Magula competed in his first state meet. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Local duo capped deep CIF track and field run with medal-winning performances," 8 June 2018 The infected toe did not respond well to the preliminaries. Roy Bragg, San Antonio Express-News, "UIW’s Newman lost toe, wins matches," 20 Mar. 2018 The third and final preliminaries will be held Friday. Fox News, "Miss America contestant advances after response to NFL protest," 7 Sep. 2018 This year's preliminaries began amid a revolt by some state-level pageant officials, who were unhappy with how the decision to end the swimsuit competition came about. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Miss America swimsuit competition 'behind us,' contestants say at prelims," 6 Sep. 2018 Fenwick finds state-final form in 2A Fenwick freshman Maria Quinn anticipated nerves would be a problem in Friday’s Class 2A 4x800 relay preliminaries. Bob Narang, chicagotribune.com, "Girls track notes: Lyons relay teams place at state," 21 May 2018 Huntington Beach senior Grant Brehm was outtouched by Los Alamitos' Jacob Toland in the 50 free, despite lowering his meet-record time from preliminaries to a 20.35, but Brehm came back to win the 100 free in 45.39. Matt Szabo, latimes.com, "Locals swim fast, but Los Alamitos sweeps Sunset League finals," 5 May 2018 Let’s dispense with preliminaries: In so many ways, live dance and music don’t get better than Alonzo King’s world premiere collaboration with tabla master Zakir Hussain, continuing through Sunday, April 15, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Rachel Howard, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hussain on hand for Lines Ballet’s glorious 35th birthday," 8 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

To conduct a preliminary Google search is to be inundated with academic papers by electromagnetic scientists and vague theories from armchair experts. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Will Blue Make You Psychic? Can Yellow Detox Your Mind? A Color Therapist Weighs in on Fall 2019’s Color Trends," 4 Apr. 2019 Ethiopian authorities, in a preliminary crash probe released Thursday, said the crew followed approved emergency procedures but couldn’t save the plane. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Ethiopian Probe Initial Findings Blames 737 MAX Flight-Control System," 4 Apr. 2019 Forty of those have been given preliminary approval and 14 have been denied. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan awards first medical marijuana licenses," 12 July 2018 Worse, preliminary statistics show an increase to more than 12,000 in the year ending last July. Charles Fain Lehman, WSJ, "Mexican Meth Fuels an American Crisis," 20 Feb. 2019 Vice Premier Liu He, China’s economy czar, was due to arrive in Washington on Thursday, China’s state media reported, after two days of preliminary talks by lower-level officials. Alex Veiga, The Seattle Times, "US stocks edge higher in early trading, extending gains," 20 Feb. 2019 Several of the states that, based on preliminary CDC data, saw overdose deaths drop or level off in 2017 took these kinds of steps. German Lopez, Vox, "Drug overdose deaths were so bad in 2017, they reduced overall life expectancy," 29 Nov. 2018 The high temperature hit 96 degrees, based on preliminary data. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati weather: Storms bring a brief respite from the heat," 5 July 2018 Therefore the parties have asked the court for a postponement of the preliminary hearing in order to formalize the agreement. Phil Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Colin Firth and Wife Livia Settle with Her Ex-Lover in Stalking Scandal Case," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preliminary.' 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 preliminary

Noun

1656, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1657, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for preliminary

Noun

French préliminaires, plural, from Medieval Latin praeliminaris, adjective, preliminary, from Latin prae- pre- + limin-, limen threshold

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preliminary

Statistics for preliminary

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preliminary

The first known use of preliminary was in 1656

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preliminary

preliminary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of preliminary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that comes first in order to prepare for or introduce the main part of something else
: a game that is played before the main part of a competition to decide which players or teams will be allowed to continue playing

preliminary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of preliminary (Entry 2 of 2)

: coming before the main part of something

preliminary

noun
pre·​lim·​i·​nary | \ pri-ˈli-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce preliminary (audio) \
plural preliminaries

Kids Definition of preliminary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that comes before the main or final part The athletes competed in the preliminaries.

preliminary

adjective

Kids Definition of preliminary (Entry 2 of 2)

: coming before the main or full part I won the preliminary round. The preliminary results are promising.

preliminary

adjective
pre·​lim·​i·​nary | \ pri-ˈli-mə-ˌner-ē\

Legal Definition of preliminary

: coming before and usually serving as a temporary or intermediate step to something preliminary negotiations a preliminary payment plan

Other Words from preliminary

preliminarily adverb
preliminary noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on preliminary

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!