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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.
    • William Shakespeare
      This superficial tale / Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
    • John Milton
      Heaven's high behest no preface needs.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      And now, without any further preface, we proceed to our next chapter.
  3. (Roman Catholicism) 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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