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[proh-li-gom-uh-non, -nuh n] /ˌproʊ lɪˈgɒm əˌnɒn, -nən/
noun, plural prolegomena
[proh-li-gom-uh-nuh] /ˌproʊ lɪˈgɒm ə nə/ (Show IPA)
a preliminary discussion; introductory essay, as prefatory matter in a book; a prologue.
Usually, prolegomena. (sometimes used with a singular verb) a treatise serving as a preface or introduction to a book.
Origin of prolegomenon
1645-55; < New Latin < Greek prolegómenon, neuter of passive present participle of prolégein to say beforehand, equivalent to pro- pro-2 + légein to say (akin to lógos logos) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prolegomenon
Historical Examples
  • The play, one feels, must remain unique, for the prolegomenon cannot be rewritten while the philosophy is unchanged.

  • The miscellanies really stand to the novels in the relation of a sort of prolegomenon.

    Balzac Frederick Lawton
British Dictionary definitions for prolegomenon


noun (pl) -na (-nə)
(often pl) a preliminary discussion, esp a formal critical introduction to a lengthy text
Derived Forms
prolegomenal, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Greek, from prolegein, from pro-² + legein to say
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 prolegomenon

1650s, "learned preamble to a book," from Greek prolegomenon, noun use of neuter passive present participle of prolegein "to say beforehand," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + legein "to speak" (see lecture (n.)) + suffix -menos (as in alumnus). The same sense is in preface (n.). Related: Prolegomenary; prolegomenous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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