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prologue

or pro·log

[proh-lawg, -log]
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noun
  1. a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem, or novel.
  2. an introductory speech, often in verse, calling attention to the theme of a play.
  3. the actor or actress who delivers this.
  4. an introductory scene, preceding the first act of a play, opera, etc.
  5. any introductory proceeding, event, etc.: Appetizing delicacies were the prologue to a long dinner.
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verb (used with object), pro·logued, pro·logu·ing.
  1. to introduce with or as if with a prologue.
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Origin of prologue

1250–1300; Middle English prologe, prologue (< Old French prologue) < Latin prōlogus < Greek prólogos. See pro-2, -logue
Related formspro·logu·ist, pro·log·ist, nounpro·logue·like, pro·log·like, adjectiveun·pro·logued, adjective

Synonyms

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5. preamble; beginning, opening; prelude.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for prologue

prologue

often US prolog

noun
    1. the prefatory lines introducing a play or speech
    2. the actor speaking these lines
  1. a preliminary act or event
  2. (in early opera)
    1. an introductory scene in which a narrator summarizes the main action of the work
    2. a brief independent play preceding the opera, esp one in honour of a patron
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verb -logues, -loguing or -logued or US -logs, -loging or -loged
  1. (tr) to introduce or preface with or as if with a prologue
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Word Origin

C13: from Latin prologus, from Greek prologos, from pro- ² + logos discourse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for prologue

n.

early 14c., from Old French prologue (12c.) and directly from Latin prologus, from Greek prologos "preface to a play, speaker of a prologue," literally "a speech beforehand," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + logos "discourse, speech," from legein "to speak" (see lecture (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper