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

El Paso wasn't the first incident:Walmart wrestles with how to respond to active shooters Ordinary Kashmiris have feared the measures would be a prelude to intensifying an ongoing crackdown against anti-India dissenters. Emily Schmall, USA TODAY, "Indian troops lock down its only Muslim-majority state, Pakistan warns of war," 9 Aug. 2019 Irby needs a fall of base training, Brauman said, and anything this summer is prelude to that. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "After sputtering for months, Pike's Lynna Irby hunts medals at Pan Am Games," 3 Aug. 2019 Whether all this saber-rattling is the prelude to a dramatic autumn crisis or simply Mr. Johnson’s tough opening bid in talks with the European Union is far from clear. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "On Eve of Her Exit, May Denounces Political Rancor. Some Blame Her for It.," 17 July 2019 The only comparable period would be the late 1970s, when Washington (1978) and Seattle (1979) traded titles in a forgettable prelude to the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Newfound NBA parity leaves Warriors in middle of the pack," 16 July 2019 The study, which is based on responses from 500 people who bought products on Amazon.com between April and June, is in prelude to Amazon's two-day Prime Day that starts on Monday. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Amazon Prime Subscription Growth Slows Ahead of Prime Day 2019," 11 July 2019 If everything goes according to plan, footage of these ceremonial birth-of-a-superstar moments will air, forevermore, in prelude to many a dunkalicious montage of highlights. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Evolution of N.B.A.-Draft Fashion," 26 June 2019 In the long, lazy days before Alaska’s most bonkers fishery brings bedlam and blood to the beaches of Kenai, one of the state’s least likely and most laid-back fisheries exists as an ephemeral prelude to the madness. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Calm before the storm: Kenai halibut anglers kick back in advance of Alaska’s most frenetic fishery," 19 June 2019 The landing zone for Wednesday's operation was fields of wildflowers outside Carentan, one of the objectives of the thousands of paratroopers who entered occupied France from the sky dropped over Normandy in the D-Day prelude. Fox News, "D-Day veteran, 97, parachutes into Normandy 75 years later: 'I'd go up and do it all again'," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Weather The first half took more than 4 hours and was preluded by a lightning delay. Jake Shapiro, The Denver Post, "The Colorado Rapids were delayed 222 minutes: 5 things we learned from a wet loss to New England," 5 July 2019 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

16 Aug 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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