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See also: Preface, préface, and préfacé


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1350–1400; Middle English prefas, which is from Old French preface (from which derives the modern French préface), from Medieval Latin prefatia, for classical Latin praefatio ‎(a saying beforehand), from praefor ‎(to speak beforehand), from prae- ‎(beforehand) + for ‎(to speak)



preface ‎(plural prefaces)

  1. The beginning or introductory portion that comes before the main text of a document or book.
    The book included a brief preface by a leading expert in the field.
  2. An introduction, or series of preliminary remarks.
    • Shakespeare
      This superficial tale / Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
    • Milton
      Heaven's high behest no preface needs.
  3. (Roman Catholic) The prelude or introduction to the canon of the Mass.



preface ‎(third-person singular simple present prefaces, present participle prefacing, simple past and past participle prefaced)

  1. (transitive) To introduce or make a comment before (the main point).
    Let me preface this by saying that I don't know him that well.
  2. (transitive) To give a preface to.
    to preface a book


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