[pref-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


of, relating to, or of the nature of a preface: prefatory explanations.

Often pref·a·to·ri·al.

Origin of prefatory

1665–75; < Latin praefāt(iō) preface + -ory1
Related formspref·a·to·ri·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for prefatory

beginning, initiative, introductory, preliminary

Examples from the Web for prefatory

Contemporary Examples of prefatory

Historical Examples of prefatory

  • In this prefatory note I confine myself to the career of the younger sister.

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

  • With these prefatory remarks, I will give the legend as recorded by Giraldus.

    Welsh Folk-Lore

    Elias Owen

  • Moleto's prefatory letter to Vita dell' Ammiraglio, April 25, 1571.

  • She was wanting to correct the proofs of the book and rewrite the prefatory memoir.

    The Longest Journey

    E. M. Forster

  • I did it in a prefatory note to a book of mine called Tom Sawyer.

    Essays on Paul Bourget

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

British Dictionary definitions for prefatory


prefatorial (ˌprɛfəˈtɔːrɪəl)


of, involving, or serving as a preface; introductory
Derived Formsprefatorily or prefatorially, adverb

Word Origin for prefatory

C17: from Latin praefārī to say in advance; see preface
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 prefatory

1670s, from Latin praefat-, past participle stem of praefari (see preface (n.)) + -ory.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper