[oh-ver-cher, -choor]
an opening or initiating move toward negotiations, a new relationship, an agreement, etc.; a formal or informal proposal or offer: overtures of peace; a shy man who rarely made overtures of friendship.
an orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera, oratorio, etc.
an independent piece of similar character.
an introductory part, as of a poem; prelude; prologue.
the action of an ecclesiastical court in submitting a question or proposal to presbyteries.
the proposal or question so submitted.
verb (used with object), overtured, overturing.
to submit as an overture or proposal: to overture conditions for a ceasefire.
to make an overture or proposal to: to overture one's adversary through a neutral party.

1300–50; Middle English < Old French; see overt, -ure; doublet of aperture

1. See proposal.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
overture (ˈəʊvəˌtjʊə)
1.  music
 a.  a piece of orchestral music containing contrasting sections that is played at the beginning of an opera or oratorio, often containing the main musical themes of the work
 b.  a similar piece preceding the performance of a play
 c.  Also called: concert overture a one-movement orchestral piece, usually having a descriptive or evocative title
 d.  a short piece in three movements (French overture or Italian overture) common in the 17th and 18th centuries
2.  (often plural) a proposal, act, or gesture initiating a relationship, negotiation, etc
3.  something that introduces what follows
4.  to make or present an overture to
5.  to introduce with an overture
[C14: via Old French, from Late Latin apertūra opening, from Latin aperīre to open; see overt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c., "an introductory proposal," from O.Fr. overture "opening, proposal," from L. apertura "opening," from aperire "to open, uncover" (see overt). Orchestral sense first recorded in English 1660s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

overture definition

A piece of music for instruments alone, written as an introduction to a longer work, such as an opera, an oratorio, or a musical comedy.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Overture ranks ads according to how much advertisers bid.
There is no fear in this glance, but neither is there curiosity or any sort of
  social overture.
Overture is really a great one because of its elegant simplicity.
Walker's overture was followed by a period of intense negotiations.
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