[pree-am-buh l, pree-am-]


an introductory statement; preface; introduction.
the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.
a preliminary or introductory fact or circumstance: His childhood in the slums was a preamble to a life of crime.
(initial capital letter) the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …”

Origin of preamble

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin praeambulum, noun use of neuter of Late Latin praeambulus walking before. See pre-, amble
Related formspre·am·bled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for preamble

preface, prelude

Examples from the Web for preamble

Contemporary Examples of preamble

Historical Examples of preamble

  • As in the case of other laws, let us have a preamble, relating to all this class of crime.



  • The first four books are described by Plato himself as the preface or preamble.



  • Let this be the preamble of our laws; the strain will follow.



  • "This preamble does not promise well," said Lady Kilgoff, with a cold smile.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • So he waited with a hope-lit serenity the preamble to the arrival of his—her—their child.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for preamble



a preliminary or introductory statement, esp attached to a statute or constitution setting forth its purpose
a preliminary or introductory conference, event, fact, etc

Word Origin for preamble

C14: from Old French préambule, from Late Latin praeambulum walking before, from Latin prae- before + ambulāre to walk
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 preamble

late 14c., from Old French preambule (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin preambulum, neuter adjective used as a noun, properly "preliminary," from Late Latin praeambulus "walking before," from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + ambulare "to walk" (see amble (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper