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 preliminary (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 As with the previous two events, no fans will be at the arena, but the fights will be available on ESPN, with the preliminaries starting at 5 p.m. CDT Saturday followed by the main card at 8. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Even the police couldn’t keep Eryk Anders from training for Saturday’s UFC bout," 16 May 2020 The preliminaries begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time and the main card at 9 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Victor Mather, New York Times, "The Biggest Weekend of Live Sports on TV in a Long Time," 15 May 2020 Felicia made the podium at state, while Tayla fouled out in the state preliminaries. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Daily Pilot High School Female Athlete of the Week: Costa Mesa’s Tayla Crenshaw making a name for herself," 28 Apr. 2018 Two Walpole hurdlers made appearances at the state meet last season: Sheehan (14th in the preliminaries) and junior Dallin Byerly (11th). Matt Maccormack, BostonGlobe.com, "Walpole boys’ indoor track a program on the rise," 11 Jan. 2020 Hixon was 17th in preliminaries of individual 3-meter. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Indy's Sarah Bacon is first U.S. female diver to medal since 2005," 13 July 2019 The 2020 state meet begins Thursday, Feb. 20, with the diving competition, followed by the girls swimming preliminaries and finals Friday, Feb. 21, and the boys swimming prelims and finals Saturday, Feb. 22. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Five storylines to watch in the Kentucky high school swimming and diving meet," 20 Feb. 2020 In the Division 1 preliminaries, Rosales unleashed a lifetime-best throw of 143-9 in the event. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Daily Pilot Girls’ Track and Field Dream Team: Alejandra Rosales next in Marina’s throwing pipeline," 10 Oct. 2019 The diving preliminaries begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the natatorium, while all finals going off at 1 p.m. Lewis Bagley, Indianapolis Star, "On first night at IHSAA girls swimming state finals, northside youth enjoys hot start," 15 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In the 12-month period ending in June 2020, for example, there were more than 19,600 deaths from methamphetamine, according to preliminary federal data. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Combination of two drugs can help treat methamphetamine addiction for some, new clinical trial data shows," 13 Jan. 2021 Nationwide, preliminary data suggests that about one in three Asian-Americans supported President Trump — a slight uptick from his support in 2016. Matt Stevens, New York Times, "Asian-American Voters Can Help Decide Elections. But for Which Party?," 3 Jan. 2021 During the first six months of the year, preliminary data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 14.8% compared to the first six months of 2019. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "In a year where homicide rates increased nationwide, Anchorage saw significant decreases," 3 Jan. 2021 Yet only a fraction of the available doses of monoclonal antibodies have made it into the arms of less-famous patients, despite preliminary data suggesting the experimental drug might keep people out of the hospital. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Famous patients tout COVID-19 treatment, but the drug is slow to reach others," 3 Jan. 2021 Cotton is certain that in addition to Shrader, other members of the city’s executive team have seen the preliminary data from the housing study. Amy Lavalley, chicagotribune.com, "Valparaiso councilman goes to state in bid for more city housing study report," 31 Dec. 2020 December travel through the airport is also down about 69% when compared with 2019 figures, according to preliminary data. oregonlive, "Over 250,000 fly through PDX over Christmas, but December travel down nearly 70%," 30 Dec. 2020 Some preliminary data also suggest more couples than normal are divorcing this year, though not all researchers agree with that assessment. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Why the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Caused a Widespread Existential Crisis," 29 Dec. 2020 The preliminary data for last week lists Carroll County as having had 245 total cases of COVID-19 last week, down significantly from the 409 of the previous week and the record 418 for the week beginning Dec. 6. Bob Blubaugh, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Five Carroll countians die of COVID-19; health dept. to begin vaccinations this week," 28 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler for preliminary

Time Traveler

The first known use of preliminary was in 1656

See more words from the same year

Statistics for preliminary

Cite this Entry

“Preliminary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preliminary. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preliminary

preliminary

noun
How to pronounce preliminary (audio)

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

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!