prelude

noun
pre·​lude | \ ˈprel-ˌyüd, ˈprāl-; ˈpre-ˌlüd, ˈprā-; sense 1 also ˈprē-ˌlüd \

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

The fear, then, must be that the farce of the past 2½ years may be but a prelude to an unimaginable tragedy. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Great Brexit Breakdown," 7 Dec. 2018 On Saturday, South Korea said the United Nations Security Council had granted a sanctions exemption to allow a survey of North Korean railroads, a possible prelude to connecting their networks. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "Entrepreneurs Weigh a Return to North Korea," 27 Nov. 2018 Raising money for the team, which every player had to do, was part of this preparation — a dreaded prelude to batting practice and fielding drills. Adam Eisenstat, Vox, "Mr. Rogers was my actual neighbor. He was everything he was on TV and more.," 26 July 2018 After starting the prelude with daringly careful slowness — many conductors today favor a swifter, more natural flow — Mr. Petrenko unleashes waves of spiky, sparkling sound. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: A Conductor Sets Munich’s Ashen ‘Parsifal’ Aflame," 1 July 2018 As Shaidayi and Hamahang were slowly growing into adulthood, the prelude to war began. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 The video was released as a prelude to the Clans of Versace ad campaign for the #VersaceFW18 collection. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "You've Been Saying Versace Wrong," 14 July 2018 Though a staggering 25 songs long, Scorpion could be a mere prelude, a stopping point, before a greater epiphany. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why Drake Can’t Pull Off Being the ‘Good Guy’," 5 July 2018 The company has also been under fire for its failure to prevent Russian trolls from buying online ads and showing propaganda in prelude to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "These Are Facebook's Latest Plans to Make Online Ads 'More Transparent'," 28 June 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

20 Dec 2018

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, 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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