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.
an orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera, oratorio, etc.
an independent piece of similar character.
an introductory part, as of a poem; prelude; prologue.
(in Presbyterian churches)
the action of an ecclesiastical court in submitting a question or proposal to presbyteries.
the proposal or question so submitted.
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use overture in a sentence
Though his overtures were rebuffed, he remained committed, even after his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, to promoting state-by-state abolition.Working to end slavery, Lincoln found power — and limits — in the Constitution | Elizabeth R. Varon | January 22, 2021 | Washington Post
Activists with whom the Washington Blade has previously spoken say church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity remains unchanged despite these overtures.Pope Francis calls for civil unions for same-sex couples | Michael K. Lavers | October 21, 2020 | Washington Blade
Despite the president’s overtures, many church groups continue to meet in person.South Korea’s Religious Right Torpedoes the Fight Against COVID-19 | Fiona Zublin | September 24, 2020 | Ozy
The city initially rejected overtures to buy the building because Doug Manchester, a supporter of Mayor Kevin Faulconer, owned a stake in the building, and his involvement could invite accusations for the mayor.
In spite of such overtures, they did play their role in defending many of the important frontier castles.History of the Crusades: Origins, Politics, and Crusaders | Dattatreya Mandal | March 23, 2020 | Realm of History
Every night on the radio, The Lone Ranger came on, and we learned to love the sound of the William Tell overture.James Lee Burke Talks About His Fiction, History, and the American Dream | David Masciotra | July 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
And the opening ballet between the overture and "Runyonland" wasn't working; it was out, it was back in, it was out again.New York’s Greatest Show Or How They Did Not Screw Up ‘Guys and Dolls’ | Ross Wetzsteon | April 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
And he should publicly reject any Iranian military overture of assistance.Their Fight…But Our Legacy: The New Battle for Fallujah | John Kael Weston | January 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Encouragingly, it seems the group was actually rewarded for this overture.
Bob Woodward's scoop today about Roger Ailes's overture to David Petraeus is well worth your time.
The overture is over, the curtain is about to rise on the drama of Georgie's married life.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
Nowadays many organists find it possible to play the overture to Tannhauser; the writer pleads guilty himself.The Recent Revolution in Organ Building | George Laing Miller
He had composed a string quartet in B major, and an overture in F major.
I am very busy (upon the orchestration of the C minor overture composed during the summer).
The overture in C minor, referred to in this letter, was submitted to Nicholas Rubinstein a few days later.
British Dictionary definitions for overture
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
a similar piece preceding the performance of a play
Also called: concert overture a one-movement orchestral piece, usually having a descriptive or evocative title
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
to make or present an overture to
to introduce with an overture
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
Cultural definitions for overture
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.