American Dictionary of the English Language

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PRE'LUDE, noun [Low Latin proeludium, from proeludo; proe, before, and ludo, to play.]

1. A short flight of music, or irregular air played by a musician before he begins the piece to be played, or before a full concert.

2. Something introductory or that shows what is to follow; something preceding which bears some relation or resemblance to that which is to follow.

The last Georgic was a good prelude to the Aeneis.

3. A forerunner; something which indicates a future event.

PRELU'DE, verb transitive To introduce with a previous performance; to play before; as, to prelude a concert with a lively air.

1. To precede, as an introductory piece; as, a lively air preludes the concert.

PRELU'DE, verb intransitive To serve as an introduction to.