- a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance.
- any action, event, comment, etc. that precedes something else.
- a relatively short, independent instrumental composition, free in form and resembling an improvisation.
- a piece that precedes a more important movement.
- the overture to an opera.
- an independent piece, of moderate length, sometimes used as an introduction to a fugue.
- music opening a church service; an introductory voluntary.
- to serve as a prelude or introduction to.
- to introduce by a prelude.
- to play as a prelude.
- to serve as a prelude.
- to give a prelude.
- to play a prelude.
Origin of prelude
SynonymsSee more synonyms for prelude on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for prelude
There was an entryway near here to another courtyard, itself a prelude to the heart of the main temple.Fighting Back With Faith: Inside the Yezidis’ Iraqi Temple
August 21, 2014
This could be a prelude to peace talks—or intensified fighting.Shakeup In the Ukraine Rebel High Command
August 15, 2014
We should hope this only sounds like a prelude to an intervention.Here's What It's Like to Fight Vitali Klitschko, Ukraine’s Revolutionary Champ
February 24, 2014
Marguerite hoped it would be the prelude to a book she wanted to write, and asked if I could get it published somewhere.Oswald’s Mother Was a Thoroughly Disagreeable Piece of Work
November 17, 2013
As is, they now look ominously instead like that monopoly's prelude and farcical first act.The Obamacare Death Spiral
November 4, 2013
What they do regard it as, is a menace to their independence, and a prelude to annexation.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
Obscurity of station or of birth has no tendency to prelude the favour of God.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
What came before the retiring could have been but a prelude.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
Hell's Half-Acre was a prelude to ten or twelve miles of geyser formation.American Notes
They have made the prelude, and the importance of their role has passed.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
- a piece of music that precedes a fugue, or forms the first movement of a suite, or an introduction to an act in an opera, etc
- (esp for piano) a self-contained piece of music
- something serving as an introduction or preceding event, occurrence, etc
- to serve as a prelude to (something)
- (tr) to introduce by a prelude
Word Origin and History for prelude
1560s, from Middle French prélude "notes sung or played to test the voice or instrument" (1530s), from Medieval Latin preludium "prelude, preliminary," from Latin praeludere "to play beforehand for practice, preface," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Purely musical sense first attested in English 1650s. Related: Prelusion.