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[proh-lawg, -log] /ˈproʊ lɔg, -lɒg/
a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem, or novel.
an introductory speech, often in verse, calling attention to the theme of a play.
the actor or actress who delivers this.
an introductory scene, preceding the first act of a play, opera, etc.
any introductory proceeding, event, etc.:
Appetizing delicacies were the prologue to a long dinner.
verb (used with object), prologued, prologuing.
to introduce with or as if with a prologue.
Also, prolog.
1250-1300; Middle English prologe, prologue (< Old French prologue) < Latin prōlogus < Greek prólogos. See pro-2, -logue
Related forms
prologuist, prologist, noun
prologuelike, prologlike, adjective
unprologued, adjective
5. preamble; beginning, opening; prelude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prologue
  • However, even ignoring the possibility of a bad technology bet, if history is prologue things don't look good.
  • But in any serious narrative, the dark chapters are merely prologue to new births of freedom, peace and prosperity.
British Dictionary definitions for prologue


  1. the prefatory lines introducing a play or speech
  2. the actor speaking these lines
a preliminary act or event
(in early opera)
  1. an introductory scene in which a narrator summarizes the main action of the work
  2. a brief independent play preceding the opera, esp one in honour of a patron
verb -logues, -loguing, -logued (US) -logs, -loging, -loged
(transitive) to introduce or preface with or as if with a prologue
Word Origin
C13: from Latin prologus, from Greek prologos, from pro-² + logos discourse
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 prologue

early 14c., from Old French prologue (12c.) and directly from Latin prologus, from Greek prologos "preface to a play, speaker of a prologue," literally "a speech beforehand," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + logos "discourse, speech," from legein "to speak" (see lecture (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for prologue

prefatory and supplementary pieces to a literary work, especially a verse drama. The ancient Greek prologos was of wider significance than the modern prologue, effectually taking the place of an explanatory first act. A character, often a deity, appeared on the empty stage to explain events prior to the action of the drama, which consisted mainly of a catastrophe. On the Latin stage, the prologue was generally more elaborately written, as in the case of Plautus' Rudens, which contains some of his finest poetry.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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