- The opening introduction before a literary work begins is an example of the prelude.
- The romantic overtures that a person makes leading up to a kiss are an example of a prelude.
- anything serving as the introduction to a principal event, action, performance, etc.; preliminary part; preface; opening
- an introductory instrumental composition, such as the first movement of a suite or the overture to an opera
- since the 19th cent., any short, romantic composition
Origin of preludeFrench prélude from Medieval Latin praeludium from Classical Latin praeludere, to play beforehand from prae-, pre- + ludere, to play from ludus: see ludicrous
intransitive verb-·ud·ed, -·ud·ing
- to serve as or be a prelude (to)
- to introduce by or play (as) a prelude
Origin of preludeL praeludere
- An introductory performance, event, or action preceding a more important one; a preliminary or preface.
- Music a. A piece or movement that serves as an introduction to another section or composition and establishes the key, such as one that precedes a fugue, opens a suite, or precedes a church service.b. A similar but independent composition for the piano.c. The overture to an oratorio, opera, or act of an opera.d. A short composition of the 1400s and early 1500s written in a free style, usually for keyboard.
verbprel·ud·ed, prel·ud·ing, prel·udes
- To serve as a prelude to.
- To introduce with or as if with a prelude.
Origin of preludeMedieval Latin praelūdium from Latin praelūdere to play beforehand prae- pre- lūdere to play ; see leid- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: How should prelude be pronounced? In our 2015 survey, 72 percent of the Usage Panel preferred a long a (pronounced “pray”) and 25 percent a short e (pronounced “prell”) for the first syllable. The absence or presence of a glide—a short (y) sound—after coronal consonants such as d, t, or l is a regional variation. People who pronounce duty as (d&oomac;′tē) also tend to omit the glide after the l in prelude : (prā′l&oomac;d′). Those who pronounce duty as (dy&oomac;′tē will tend to include the glide: (prā′ly&oomac;d′).
(third-person singular simple present preludes, present participle preluding, simple past and past participle preluded)
- To introduce something, as a prelude.
- To play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance.