overture

[ oh-ver-cher, -choo r ]
/ ˈoʊ vər tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər /

noun

an opening or initiating move toward negotiations, a new relationship, an agreement, etc.; a formal or informal proposal or offer: overtures of peace; a shy man who rarely made overtures of friendship.
Music.
  1. an orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera, oratorio, etc.
  2. an independent piece of similar character.
an introductory part, as of a poem; prelude; prologue.
(in Presbyterian churches)
  1. the action of an ecclesiastical court in submitting a question or proposal to presbyteries.
  2. the proposal or question so submitted.

verb (used with object), o·ver·tured, o·ver·tur·ing.

to submit as an overture or proposal: to overture conditions for a ceasefire.
to make an overture or proposal to: to overture one's adversary through a neutral party.

Nearby words

  1. overtopping,
  2. overtower,
  3. overtrade,
  4. overtrick,
  5. overtrump,
  6. overturn,
  7. overuse,
  8. overvalue,
  9. overview,
  10. overvoltage

Origin of overture

1300–50; Middle English < Old French; see overt, -ure; doublet of aperture

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overture


British Dictionary definitions for overture

overture

/ (ˈəʊvəˌtjʊə) /

noun

music
  1. a piece of orchestral music containing contrasting sections that is played at the beginning of an opera or oratorio, often containing the main musical themes of the work
  2. a similar piece preceding the performance of a play
  3. Also called: concert overture a one-movement orchestral piece, usually having a descriptive or evocative title
  4. a short piece in three movements (French overture or Italian overture) common in the 17th and 18th centuries
(often plural) a proposal, act, or gesture initiating a relationship, negotiation, etc
something that introduces what follows

verb (tr)

to make or present an overture to
to introduce with an overture

Word Origin for overture

C14: via Old French, from Late Latin apertūra opening, from Latin aperīre to open; see overt

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 overture

overture

n.

mid-13c., "opening, aperture;" early 15c. as "an introductory proposal," from Old French overture "opening; proposal" (Modern French ouverture), from Latin apertura "opening," from aperire "to open, uncover" (see overt). Orchestral sense first recorded in English 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for overture

overture

A piece of music for instruments alone, written as an introduction to a longer work, such as an opera, an oratorio, or a musical comedy.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.