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From Anglo-Norman, Middle French overture, from Old French overture.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈəʊvətjʊə/, /ˈəʊvətʃ(ʊ)ə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈoʊvəɹtʃəɹ/


overture ‎(plural overtures)

  1. (obsolete) An opening; a recess or chamber. [15th-19th c.]
    • Chapman
      the cave's inmost overture
  2. (obsolete) disclosure; discovery; revelation
    • Shakespeare
      It was he / That made the overture of thy treasons to us.
  3. (often in plural) An approach or proposal made to initiate communication, establish a relationship etc. [from 15th c.]
    • 2012 April 23, Angelique Chrisafis, “François Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election”, in the Guardian[1]:
      Sarkozy gave a defiant speech, going on the offensive and betraying no hint of having been beaten. He styled the result as a "crisis" vote, by a French population which was "suffering". In a clear overture to Le Pen's voters, and the extreme-right motto of loving France, he said: "I call on all French people who put love of their country above partisan considerations, to unite and join me."
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 20:
      My mother had no choice; one did not turn down such an overture from the regent.
  4. (Scotland) A motion placed before a legislative body, such as the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. [from 16th c.]
  5. (music) a musical introduction to a piece of music. [from 17th c.]


  • (opening of a piece of music): coda


Related terms[edit]


Old French[edit]


overt +‎ -ure, from ovrir ‎(to open), or from Vulgar Latin *opertūra, from Latin apertūra.


overture f ‎(oblique plural overtures, nominative singular overture, nominative plural overtures)

  1. an opening
    Par l'overture s'en saut hors. (Tristan, Béroul)
    He jumped out through the opening.