[ pref-is ]
/ ˈprɛf ɪs /


a preliminary statement in a book by the book's author or editor, setting forth its purpose and scope, expressing acknowledgment of assistance from others, etc.
an introductory part, as of a speech.
something preliminary or introductory: The meeting was the preface to an alliance.
Ecclesiastical. a prayer of thanksgiving, the introduction to the canon of the Mass, ending with the Sanctus.

verb (used with object), pref·aced, pref·ac·ing.

to provide with or introduce by a preface.
to serve as a preface to.

Origin of preface

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin prēfātia, for Latin praefātiō “a saying beforehand,” equivalent to praefāt(us) (past participle of praefārī “to say beforehand”; see pre-, fate) + -iōn- -ion

synonym study for preface

1. See introduction.


pref·ac·er, nounun·pref·aced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for preface

British Dictionary definitions for preface

/ (ˈprɛfɪs) /


a statement written as an introduction to a literary or other work, typically explaining its scope, intention, method, etc; foreword
anything introductory
RC Church a prayer of thanksgiving and exhortation serving as an introduction to the canon of the Mass

verb (tr)

to furnish with a preface
to serve as a preface to

Derived forms of preface

prefacer, noun

Word Origin for preface

C14: from Medieval Latin praefātia, from Latin praefātiō a saying beforehand, from praefārī to utter in advance, from prae before + fārī to say
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