What does prelude mean?

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

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word prelude.

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


  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

  5. Origin: [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. prluder. See Ludicrous.]


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prelude

    prē-lūd′, or prel′ūd, n. the introductory movement of a musical work: a prefatory piece to an oratorio, &c.: an organ voluntary before a church service: a preface: a forerunner.—v.t. Prelude′, to play before: to preface, as an introduction.—v.i. to perform a prelude: to serve as a prelude.—adjs. Prelū′dial and Prelū′dious (rare); Prelū′sive, of the nature of a prelude: introductory.—advs. Prelū′sively; Prelū′sorily.—adj. Prelū′sory, introductory. [Fr.,—Late L. præludium—L. præ, before, ludĕre, to play.]

Suggested Resources

  1. prelude

    Song lyrics by prelude -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by prelude on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prelude in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prelude in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Pesach Seder:

    The willingness to sacrifice is the prelude to freedom.

  2. Shirley MacLaine:

    The pain of leaving those you've grown to love is only the prelude to an understanding of yourself and others.

  3. The Tribune, Berlin, 1871:

    The prelude to Tristan and Isolde sounded as if a bomb had fallen into a large music factory and had thrown all the notes into confusion.

  4. Eduard Hanslick:

    The prelude to Tristan and Isolde reminds me of the Italian painting of the martyr whose intestines are slowly being unwound from his body on a reel.

  5. Valentyn Zemlyansky:

    What's been happening the past few days, these statements by Miller and Putin, is all just a prelude for talks between Russia and Ukraine over a summer deal.

Images & Illustrations of prelude

  1. preludepreludeprelude

Translations for prelude

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for prelude »


Find a translation for the prelude definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these prelude definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"prelude." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prelude>.

Are we missing a good definition for prelude? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for prelude:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.