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

Enter the Old City and descend to the Kotel (Western Wall) to watch the Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming of the Sabbath) service, a meaningful prelude to the day of rest at Judaism's holiest site. Joe Yudin, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Israel," 5 Oct. 2016 This major and enviable gift now forms the James G. Galanos Archive at Drexel University, and this exhibition is the first outing of pieces pulled from the Archive, a prelude to more Galanos exhibitions to come. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "‘James Galanos: Design Integrity’ Review: The West Coast King of Fashion," 10 Nov. 2018 The power move is believed to be a prelude to a new internal system that Amazon has yet to launch called One Vendor. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: ‘I don’t think Amazon understands how close they are to blowing themselves up’," 29 Nov. 2018 The crepuscular lighting was a prelude to Pugh’s raucous after-party in the same venue later that night. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Gareth Pugh Brings Back Vogueing in Grand Style," 16 Sep. 2018 All this could be a prelude, however, to the big question: Is LeBron James going to run for political office someday? Dylan Scott, Vox, "LeBron James, the most important athlete in America, explained," 4 Aug. 2018 The perfect prelude to a bacon double cheeseburger. Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "Go away ESPN. Leave the Cubs alone.," 25 May 2018 Not a prelude to something more, but a finished product in itself. Tim Layden, SI.com, "Justify Emerges From the Fog at Preakness to Keep Triple Crown Pursuit Alive," 19 May 2018 The prelude: The end of Russian involvement in the war had freed the German military to launch an offensive on the Western Front, with a goal of defeating the Allies before US forces could become fully engaged. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Recalling Belleau Wood," 26 Apr. 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

15 Mar 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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