9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pri-lim-uh-ner-ee] /prɪˈlɪm əˌnɛr i/
preceding and leading up to the main part, matter, or business; introductory; preparatory:
preliminary examinations.
noun, plural preliminaries.
something preliminary, as an introductory or preparatory step, measure, contest, etc.:
He passed the preliminary and went on to the finals.
a boxing match or other athletic contest that takes place before the main event on the program:
A preliminary was fought at 8:00.
a preliminary examination, as of a candidate for an academic degree.
preliminaries, Printing. front matter.
Origin of preliminary
1650-60; < French prélimin(aire) and New Latin praelīmin(āris) (see pre-, liminal) + -ary
Related forms
preliminarily, adverb
1. prefatory. Preliminary, introductory both refer to that which comes before the principal subject of consideration. That which is preliminary is in the nature of preparation or of clearing away details which would encumber the main subject or problem; it often deals with arrangements and the like, which have to do only incidentally with the principal subject: preliminary negotiations. That which is introductory leads with natural, logical, or close connection directly into the main subject of consideration: introductory steps.
1. concluding. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preliminary
  • There are preliminary studies that are beginning to link acetaminophen use with both the rise of autism and asthma.
  • Once he finished his inspection, he delivered a preliminary verdict.
  • The company said the discussions were preliminary.
  • Technically, the result is just preliminary.
  • In many respects this is due to the preliminary nature of the science.
  • But I must pass over this preliminary difficulty.
  • If it is a formality, then they can give you an official preliminary acceptance.
  • The allusion is to the preliminary exercises in the great Roman foot-race.
  • When screened again in August, preliminary figures show a difference.
  • The company recently delivered a demonstration model for preliminary testing.
British Dictionary definitions for preliminary


(usually prenominal) occurring before or in preparation; introductory
noun (pl) -naries
a preliminary event or occurrence
an eliminating contest held before the main competition
Derived Forms
preliminarily, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin praelīmināris, from Latin prae before + līmen threshold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for preliminary

1660s, from French préliminaire and directly from Medieval Latin praeliminaris, from Latin prae- "before" (see pre-) + limen (genitive liminis) "threshold" (see limit (n.)). A word that arose in reference to negotiations to end the Thirty Years' War. Earliest attested form in English is preliminaries (n.), 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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