noun pro·logue \ˈprō-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\
variants: or less commonly


Definition of prologue

  1. 1 :  the preface or introduction to a literary work

  2. 2a :  a speech often in verse addressed to the audience by an actor at the beginning of a playb :  the actor speaking such a prologue

  3. 3 :  an introductory or preceding event or development

Examples of prologue in a sentence

  1. the prologue to his autobiography

  2. unfortunately, the burglary, which he committed while still a teen, was but a prologue to a wasted life of crime

Did You Know?

In ancient Greek drama, the prologos (a word that means basically "speaking before") was the opening portion of the play, before the entry of the all-important chorus. It might be spoken by a single actor, maybe playing a god, who would "set the scene" for the audience. Playwrights today instead often provide the same kind of "scene-setting" information through dialogue near the play's beginning; in movies, it may appear (as in the "Star Wars" series) in the form of actual written text. In a nonfiction book, the lead-in is now usually called a preface or introduction; novels rarely provide any introduction at all. Still, prologue remains a useful word for nonliterary purposes. The saying "The past is prologue" tells us that, in real life, almost everything can be a prologue to what follows it.

Origin and Etymology of prologue

Middle English prolog, from Anglo-French prologue, from Latin prologus preface to a play, from Greek prologos part of a Greek play preceding the entry of the chorus, from pro- before + legein to speak — more at pro-, legend

First Known Use: 14th century

PROLOGUE Defined for English Language Learners


noun pro·logue \ˈprō-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\

Definition of prologue for English Language Learners

  • : an introduction to a book, play, etc.

Seen and Heard

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contemplative of or relative to the past

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