Definitions for preludeˈprɛl yud, ˈpreɪl-, ˈpreɪ lud, ˈpri-

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word prelude

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

prel•udeˈprɛl yud, ˈpreɪl-, ˈpreɪ lud, ˈpri-(n.; v.)-ud•ed, -ud•ing.

  1. (n.)a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance.

  2. any action, event, comment, etc., that precedes something else.

  3. Music. a relatively short, independent instrumental composition, free in form and resembling an improvisation. a piece that is introductory to another piece, as a fugue. the overture to an opera. music opening a church service; an introductory voluntary.

    Category: Music and Dance

  4. (v.t.)to serve as a prelude or introduction to.

  5. to introduce by a prelude.

  6. to play as a prelude.

  7. (v.i.)to serve as a prelude.

  8. to give a prelude.

  9. to play a prelude.

Origin of prelude:

1555–65; < ML praelūdium= L praelūd(ere) to compose a prelude (prae-pre - +lūdere to write for amusement, play) + -ium -ium1

Princeton's WordNet

  1. preliminary, overture, prelude(noun)

    something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows

    "training is a necessary preliminary to employment"; "drinks were the overture to dinner"

  2. prelude(verb)

    music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera

  3. prelude(verb)

    serve as a prelude or opening to

  4. prelude(verb)

    play as a prelude

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. prelude(noun)ˈprɛl yud, ˈpreɪl-, ˈpreɪ lud, ˈpri-

    sth that leads to or introduces a more important thing

    The border fighting was a prelude to the war.


  1. prelude(Noun)

    An introductory or preliminary performance or event; a preface.

  2. prelude(Noun)

    A short piece of music that acts as an introduction to a longer piece.

  3. prelude(Verb)

    To introduce something, as a prelude.

  4. Origin: From prelude, from preludium, from earlier praeludere.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Prelude(verb)

    an introductory performance, preceding and preparing for the principal matter; a preliminary part, movement, strain, etc.; especially (Mus.), a strain introducing the theme or chief subject; a movement introductory to a fugue, yet independent; -- with recent composers often synonymous with overture

  2. Prelude(verb)

    to play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance; to serve as prelude

  3. Prelude(verb)

    to introduce with a previous performance; to play or perform a prelude to; as, to prelude a concert with a lively air

  4. Prelude(verb)

    to serve as prelude to; to precede as introductory


  1. Prelude

    A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work. While, during the Baroque era, for example, it may have served as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that were usually longer and more complex, it may also have been a stand alone piece of work during the Romantic era. It generally features a small number of rhythmic and melodic motifs that recur through the piece. Stylistically, the prelude is improvisatory in nature. The prelude can also refer to an overture, particularly to those seen in an opera or an oratorio.

Translations for prelude

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


an event etc that goes before, and acts as an introduction to, something.

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