pro·​le·​gom·​e·​non | \ ˌprō-li-ˈgä-mə-ˌnän How to pronounce prolegomenon (audio) , -nən \
plural prolegomena\ ˌprō-​li-​ˈgä-​mə-​nə How to pronounce prolegomenon (audio) \

Definition of prolegomenon

: prefatory remarks specifically : a formal essay or critical discussion serving to introduce and interpret an extended work

Other Words from prolegomenon

prolegomenous \ ˌprō-​li-​ˈgä-​mə-​nəs How to pronounce prolegomenon (audio) \ adjective

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Prolegomenon is the singular and "prolegomena" is the plural of this scholarly word, though people sometimes mistakenly interpret "prolegomena" as the singular. The word, which comes from the Greek verb prolegein ("to say beforehand"), first appeared in print around 1652. It has appeared in the titles of noteworthy scholarly and philosophical works, but it has never been as common in general use as its older cousin "prologue." "Prologue" usually refers to an introduction to a literary work or to a speech addressed to the audience at the beginning of a play. "Prolegomenon" is most often used of the introduction to a work of scholarly analysis. Both words can also be used in a broader sense to refer generally to something that serves as an introduction.

First Known Use of prolegomenon

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prolegomenon

Greek, neuter present passive participle of prolegein to say beforehand, from pro- before + legein to say — more at legend

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The first known use of prolegomenon was in 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Prolegomenon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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