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 Two German companies, ISAR and Rocket Factory Augsburg, are building test facilities at the site, likely as a prelude to future orbital launches. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Sweden invests in launch site, SLS hotfire test in a month," 16 Oct. 2020 Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, voiced doubts that a pause in the fighting would be a prelude to an armistice. Washington Post, "Death of Syrian mercenaries show how Turkey, Russia could get sucked into Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," 14 Oct. 2020 There was a bizarre prelude to the calamity, when his brother, Robert, was taken out by their father for a swim in the Gulf. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Heartsick Hilarity of John Berryman’s Letters," 12 Oct. 2020 Much of the October lineup acts as a prelude to Election Day on Nov. 3. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Six theater shows to watch in October from Connecticut theaters," 8 Oct. 2020 Vogl says their label’s success was a prelude to something more significant. Rifat Malik, Dallas News, "Wearing it well: Alumna redesigns Islamic school’s uniforms with modesty in mind," 1 Oct. 2020 But the nit-picking appeared to merely serve as a prelude to the crux of Beijing’s opposition to Wikimedia: the existence and activities of Wikimedia Taiwan, one of the foundation’s chapters. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Beijing blocked Wikimedia from a UN agency because of “Taiwan-related issues”," 25 Sep. 2020 The first half, which starts Sunday, is basically a prelude. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Comey Rule’ and What a Fool Believes," 24 Sep. 2020 Still, a dozen days avoiding atmospheric contaminants may provide a prelude for a nation still unclear about what will happen when winter forces most people inside. Washington Post, "As people in Oregon tried to avoid wildfires, coronavirus cases spiked, officials say," 19 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In his Auburn classroom, Busbin preludes his Civil War unit by spending several days with his students learning about enslavement. al, "Alabama’s black history runs deep, but some students skim the surface," 1 Mar. 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for prelude

Time Traveler

The first known use of prelude was in 1561

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Statistics for prelude

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prelude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prelude. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for prelude

prelude

noun
How to pronounce prelude (audio) How to pronounce prelude (audio)

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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