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prolegomenon

[proh-li-gom-uh-non, -nuh n]
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noun, plural pro·le·gom·e·na [proh-li-gom-uh-nuh] /ˌproʊ lɪˈgɒm ə nə/.
  1. a preliminary discussion; introductory essay, as prefatory matter in a book; a prologue.
  2. Usually prolegomena. (sometimes used with a singular verb) a treatise serving as a preface or introduction to a book.
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Origin of prolegomenon

1645–55; < New Latin < Greek prolegómenon, neuter of passive present participle of prolégein to say beforehand, equivalent to pro- pro-2 + légein to say (akin to lógos logos)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

ingressawakeninginsertionprefaceprimerleadadditionpreambleadmittancelead-ininitiationpresentationforewordopeninginaugurationovertureinceptioninstallationestablishmentprelude

Examples from the Web for prolegomenon

Historical Examples

  • The play, one feels, must remain unique, for the prolegomenon cannot be rewritten while the philosophy is unchanged.

    G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study

    Julius West

  • The miscellanies really stand to the novels in the relation of a sort of prolegomenon.

    Balzac

    Frederick Lawton


British Dictionary definitions for prolegomenon

prolegomenon

noun plural -na (-nə)
  1. (often plural) a preliminary discussion, esp a formal critical introduction to a lengthy text
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Derived Formsprolegomenal, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Greek, from prolegein, from pro- ² + legein 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

Word Origin and History for prolegomenon

n.

1650s, "learned preamble to a book," from Greek prolegomenon, noun use of neuter passive present participle of prolegein "to say beforehand," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + legein "to speak" (see lecture (n.)) + suffix -menos (as in alumnus). The same sense is in preface (n.). Related: Prolegomenary; prolegomenous.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper