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See also: prélude and préludé


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From Middle French prélude (singing to test a musical instrument), from Medieval Latin preludium, from Latin praelūdere.[1]



prelude (plural preludes)

  1. An introductory or preliminary performance or event.
    Synonym: preface
  2. (music) A short, free-form piece of music, originally one serving as an introduction to a longer and more complex piece; later, starting with the Romantic period, generally a stand-alone piece. [from 1650s]
    Synonyms: intrada, overture
  3. (programming) A standard module or library of subroutines and functions to be imported, generally by default, into a program.
    • 2018, Steve Klabnik, Carol Nichols, The Rust Programming Language, No Starch Press, →ISBN, page 232:
      In the same way that Rust has a general prelude that brings certain types and functions into scope automatically, the std::io module has its own prelude of common types and functions you'll need when working with I/O.
  4. (figurative) A forerunner to anything.
    • 1869, William Chambers, Robert Chambers, Chambers's Miscellany of Instructive & Entertaining Tracts, page 2:
      Swimmings of the head and intestinal pains seemed the prelude of dissolution.
    • 1981, Anouar Abdel-Malek, Social Dialectics: Nation and Revolution, page 13:
      On the other hand, the nationalitarian phenomenon is one in which the struggle against the imperialist powers of occupation has as its object, beyond the clearing of the national territory, the independence and sovereignty of the national State, uprooting in depth the positions of the ex-colonial power— the reconquest of the power of decision in all domains of national life, the prelude to that reconquest of identity which is at the heart of the renaissance undertaken on the basis of fundamental national demands, and ceaselessly contested, by every means available, on every level, and notably on the internal level'.




prelude (third-person singular simple present preludes, present participle preluding, simple past and past participle preluded)

  1. To introduce something, as a prelude.
  2. To play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “prelude”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.




  1. third-person singular present indicative of preludere