• synonyms


[pree-lim, pri-lim]
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noun Informal.
  1. preliminary.
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Origin of prelim

First recorded in 1880–85; by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for prelims


pl n
  1. Also called: front matter the pages of a book, such as the title page and contents, before the main text
  2. the first public examinations taken for the bachelor's degree in some universities
  3. (in Scotland) the school examinations taken as practice before public examinations
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Word Origin

C19: a contraction of preliminaries
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 prelims



1891, short for preliminary (race, test, event, etc.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper