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[pree-am-buh l, pree-am-] /ˈpriˌæm bəl, priˈæm-/
an introductory statement; preface; introduction.
the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.
a preliminary or introductory fact or circumstance:
His childhood in the slums was a preamble to a life of crime.
(initial capital letter) the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …”.
Origin of preamble
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin praeambulum, noun use of neuter of Late Latin praeambulus walking before. See pre-, amble
Related forms
preambled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preamble
  • Somehow we just skipped over the preamble to the civil rights protests and forgot about all that led to them.
  • Existence becomes merely a preamble to a more vital goal.
  • Going to this doctor felt just like getting my car fixed, only less preamble.
  • Including the preamble, all signatures and all 27 amendments, it's 20 pages.
  • But as funny as these passages are, they are a preamble for a meditation on happiness—for both man and animal.
  • You quote the preamble to the constitution as the basis for your cause.
  • This passage was quoted in the preamble to the 1968 Republican party platform.
  • So go ahead and tell us already — without the preamble.
  • Lampros's introduction to the high school's academic standards proved a fitting preamble to a disastrous year.
  • She approached him and without preamble asked if he was married.
British Dictionary definitions for preamble


a preliminary or introductory statement, esp attached to a statute or constitution setting forth its purpose
a preliminary or introductory conference, event, fact, etc
Word Origin
C14: from Old French préambule, from Late Latin praeambulum walking before, from Latin prae- before + ambulāre to walk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for preamble

late 14c., from Old French preambule (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin preambulum, neuter adjective used as a noun, properly "preliminary," from Late Latin praeambulus "walking before," from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + ambulare "to walk" (see amble (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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