prelude

noun
pre·​lude | \ ˈprel-ˌyüd How to pronounce prelude (audio) , ˈprāl-; ˈpre-ˌlüd, ˈprā-; sense 1 also ˈprē-ˌlüd How to pronounce prelude (audio) \

Definition of prelude

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an introductory performance, action, or event preceding and preparing for the principal or a more important matter
2a : a musical section or movement introducing the theme or chief subject (as of a fugue or suite) or serving as an introduction to an opera or oratorio
b : an opening voluntary
c : a separate concert piece usually for piano or orchestra and based entirely on a short motif

prelude

verb
preluded; preluding

Definition of prelude (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to serve as a prelude to
2 : to play as a prelude

intransitive verb

: to give or serve as a prelude especially : to play a musical introduction

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Other Words from prelude

Verb

preluder noun

Examples of prelude in a Sentence

Noun

an eruption of sectarian violence that proved to be the prelude to all-out civil war the musical had a brief prelude to get the audience in the proper mood

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lawmakers who had hoped to vote on legalization said the decriminalization bill might be a prelude to full legalization next year. David Klepper, BostonGlobe.com, "New York lawmakers OK pot decriminalization," 21 June 2019 And there is this weekend's colossal event that is a prelude to how things are changing. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Between 150-300 college coaches expected to take in Section 7 Team Camp in Phoenix," 20 June 2019 Four albums due out July 12 His newest album notwithstanding, this two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is surely the first music legend whose ongoing tour is a prelude to the imminent release of four additional albums. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Paul McCartney still ‘Fab ‘at 77, still on tour, has four albums due out in July," 20 June 2019 But there's increasing concern the regime is assembling forces from other parts of the country, prelude for a massive ground attack. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Syrians in Idlib brace for chemical weapons attack, ground invasion by Assad forces," 10 Sep. 2018 All of this is a prelude for the ballet’s magnificent opening. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Joffrey's North American premiere of 'Midsummer' is a 'Joy.' That’s its only problem.," 26 Apr. 2018 The red giant phase is actually a prelude to a star shedding its outer layers and becoming a small, dense body called a white dwarf. Catherine Zuckerman, National Geographic, "Everything you wanted to know about stars," 20 Mar. 2019 Iversen and Patel’s study of Snowball turned out to be just the prelude to a new concerto of research on musicality in the animal kingdom. Quanta Magazine, "The Beasts That Keep the Beat," 22 Mar. 2016 Even Drest’s disobedience feels like the prelude to her proving that fathers shouldn’t underestimate their daughters. Soman Chainani, New York Times, "Young Heroines Who Are Saviors, but Not Saints," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a move that was expected and could prelude further transactions, the Bulls on Thursday announced the team waived guard Sean Kilpatrick. Malika Andrews, chicagotribune.com, "Bulls waive guard Sean Kilpatick," 12 July 2018 Wildfires raged on two ends of California Saturday, killing one person, destroying scores of homes and reminding residents of last year’s historic destruction, if not preluding a repeat. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "One dead as wildfires burn on both ends of California," 7 July 2018 Stephen Loveridge’s documentary, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., appears to start filling in that script, preluding the Grammys performance with footage of the rapper and producer’s breezy home life in Los Angeles. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Listening to M.I.A., Finally," 30 Mar. 2018 Italy, meanwhile, have not secured a victory since October, where their 1-0 win over Albania preluded Gli Azzurri's World Cup play-off defeat at the hands of Sweden the following month. SI.com, "England vs Italy Preview: Recent Form, Team News, Prediction & More," 26 Mar. 2018 The 6-3 vote for the contract exposed the ongoing riff between the board that was temporarily patched on March 5 when the board voted unanimously to hire Brumley, despite the contentious debate that preluded the approval. Littice Bacon-blood, NOLA.com, "New Jefferson schools superintendent $269,000 salary approved," 13 Mar. 2018 Such steps are typically preludes to a board fight, which Elliott has until March to launch for Hess’s 2018 annual meeting. David Benoit And Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Elliott Preps for Potential Fight With Hess, Seeking CEO Ouster," 14 Dec. 2017 The Saints have got this season's Premier League campaign off to a solid start, with a goalless draw to a gritty West Bromwich Albion preluding their 3-2 victory over West Ham last Saturday. SI.com, "Southampton Striker Charlie Austin Rejoices in Strong Return to Form Following Long-Term Injury," 21 Aug. 2017

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

Noun

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1632, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for prelude

Noun

Middle French, from Medieval Latin praeludium, from Latin praeludere to play beforehand, from prae- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous

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Statistics for prelude

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prelude

The first known use of prelude was in 1561

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More Definitions for prelude

prelude

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prelude

: something that comes before and leads to something else
: a short piece of music that introduces a longer piece

prelude

noun
pre·​lude | \ ˈprel-ˌyüd How to pronounce prelude (audio) , ˈprā-ˌlüd\

Kids Definition of prelude

1 : something that comes before and prepares for the main or more important parts
2 : a short piece of music played at the beginning of something (as an opera or church service)

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Comments on prelude

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