What does prelude mean?

Definitions for prelude
ˈprɛl yud, ˈpreɪl-, ˈpreɪ lud, ˈpri-pre·lude

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word prelude.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. preliminary, overture, preludenoun

    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. preludeverb

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

  3. preludeverb

    serve as a prelude or opening to

  4. preludeverb

    play as a prelude


  1. preludenoun

    An introductory or preliminary performance or event; a preface.

  2. preludenoun

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

  3. preludeverb

    To introduce something, as a prelude.

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRELUDEnoun

    Etymology: prelude, Fr. præludium, Lat.

    To his infant arms oppose
    His father’s rebels and his brother’s foes;
    Those were the preludes of his fate,
    That form’d his manhood, to subdue
    The hydra of the many-headed hissing crew. Dryden.

    The last Georgick was a good prelude to the Æneis, and very well shewed what the poet could do in the description of what was really great. Addison.

    One concession to a man is but a prelude to another. Clarissa.

  2. To Preludeverb

    To serve as an introduction; to be previous to.

    Etymology: preluder, Fr. præludo, Lat.

    Either songster holding out their throats,
    And folding up their wings, renew’d their notes,
    As if all day, preluding to the fight,
    They only had rehears’d, to sing by night. Dryden.


  1. prelude

    A prelude is an introductory part of a piece of music, event, performance, or action. It serves as a preliminary or preparatory introduction that leads to the main part of something. It could also refer to a separate piece of music intended to introduce larger work, such as a classical music composition or an opera.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Preludeverb

    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. Preludeverb

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

  3. Preludeverb

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

  4. Preludeverb

    to serve as prelude to; to precede as introductory

  5. Etymology: [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.

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  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

Examples of prelude in a Sentence

  1. Reinhold Niebuhr:

    Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.

  2. 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.

  3. Justin Onuekwusi:

    Of course, it doesn't help that almost as a prelude to the conversation you get tweets that are quite antagonistic.

  4. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon:

    What we’ve seen overnight is the prelude of things to come, following the signing of the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions. An Iran that can funnel additional funds and weapons to terror organizations operating against Israel and Western interests in the region.

  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.

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Translations for prelude

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"prelude." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prelude>.

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    a consonant produced by stopping the flow of air at some point and suddenly releasing it
    A occlusive
    B proprietary
    C tacky
    D ectomorphic

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