Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Middle English overture, from Anglo-Norman, Middle French overture, from Old French overture. Doublet of aperture.


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


overture (plural overtures)

  1. (obsolete) An opening; a recess or chamber. [15th–19th c.]
    • c. 1612', George Chapman, A Hymne to Hermes
      the cave's inmost overture
  2. (obsolete) Disclosure; discovery; revelation.
  3. (often in plural) An approach or proposal made to initiate communication, establish a relationship etc. [from 15th c.]
    overture of friendship
    • 1943 May and June, Charles E. Lee, “The Blyth & Tyne Railway”, in Railway Magazine, page 138:
      Shortly afterwards the North Eastern Railway made overtures for the purchase of the Blyth & Tyne system, and the directors of the latter were then disposed to sell, but, in view of their excellent dividend record, stood out for a good price.
    • 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, or a play. [from 17th c.]
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 66:
      The overture was almost at a close; and silence being now more effective than any thing that he could urge in favour of the play, Courtenaye went behind the scenes:...


  • (opening of a piece of music): coda

Related terms[edit]



overture (third-person singular simple present overtures, present participle overturing, simple past and past participle overtured)

  1. (intransitive) To make overtures; to approach with a proposal.
    • 2012, K.H. Rubin, H.S. Ross, Peer Relationships and Social Skills in Childhood (page 44)
      For a partner setting a table in a game of “house,” an overturing child might assume the role of the father returning home from work at dinnertime rather than overturing by throwing a ball toward the child and yelling “catch.”


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.


  • Middle English:
  • Middle French: overture