American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A preliminary statement or essay introducing a book that explains its scope, intention, or background and is usually written by the author.
- n. An introductory section, as of a speech.
- n. Something introductory; a preliminary: An informal brunch served as a preface to the three-day conference.
- n. The words introducing the central part of the Eucharist in several Christian churches.
- v. To introduce by or provide with a preliminary statement or essay.
- v. To serve as an introduction to.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A statement or series of statements introducing a discourse, book, or other composition; a series of preliminary remarks, either written or spoken; a prelude. A preface is generally shorter than an introduction, which contains matter kindred in subject, and additional or leading up to what follows; while a preface is usually confined to particulars relating to the origin, history, scope, or aim of the work to which it is prefixed.
- n. [cap, or lowercase] In liturgics, the introductory section of the anaphora; the solemn eucharistic thanksgiving and ascription of glory introducing the canon. The Preface is found of the same type in all liturgies. It begins with the Sursum Corda, generally preceded in early and Oriental forms by the apostolic (2 Cor. xiii. 14) or a similar benediction. After an exhortation to give thanks (Response: “It is meet and right …”), the Preface in the narrower sense begins with the affirmation (contestation) “It is very [truly] meet, etc., to give thanks …” The reason for thankfulness is given in the central division of the form. This in early and Oriental liturgies is invariable, and still retains much of its original character of an extended ascription of glory to God and rehearsal of his dealings with man from the Creation and Fall onward. In Western liturgies a number of proper Prefaces is provided, varying according to the day or season. Probably these were originally sections of the primitive Preface or of the earlier part of the Canon, selected as appropriate to the season or modeled on such sections. The Preface terminates with the Sanctus. Also, in Gallican uses, contestation, illation, immolation.
- n. A title; an introductory or explanatory epithet.
- To give a preface to; introduce by preliminary written or spoken remarks, or by an action significant of what is to follow.
- To say as a preface; write or utter in view or explanation of what is to follow.
- To front; face; cover.
- To give a preface; speak, write, or do something preliminary to later action.
- n. The beginning or introductory portion that comes before the main text of a document or book.
- v. transitive To introduce or make a comment before the main point.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Something spoken as introductory to a discourse, or written as introductory to a book or essay; a proem; an introduction, or series of preliminary remarks.
- n. (R. C. Ch.) The prelude or introduction to the canon of the Mass.
- v. To introduce by a preface; to give a preface to.
- v. To make a preface.
- n. a short introductory essay preceding the text of a book
- v. furnish with a preface or introduction
- 1350–1400; Middle English prefas, which is from Old French preface (from which derives the modern French préface), from Medieval Latin prefatia, for classical Latin praefatio ("a saying beforehand"), from praefor ("to speak beforehand"), from prae- ("beforehand") + for ("to speak") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praefātiō, praefātiōn-, from praefātus, past participle of praefārī, to say before : prae-, pre- + fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Aristotle in his poetic art as an essential part of tragedy, was an even, simple chant, like that which we call the preface to mass, which in my opinion is the Gregorian chant, and not the Ambrosian, and which is a true melopée.”
“Clearly, the preface is ambivalent; the critique of enthusiasm with which the preface begins undermines its polemic, and vice versa.”
“AS a preface is the only place where an author can with propriety explain a purpose or apologize for shortcomings, I venture to avail myself of the privilege to make a statement for the benefit of my readers.”
“This preface is undated but, based on the content, it must have been written after his resignation from the Party in March 1916 and during the last few months of his life.”
“For example, the preface is missing any sort of place-setting.”
“Like the as-yet-unpublished "Lexicon," Elements contains all manner of facts collated from the object work; unlike that project, it has been published with full consent from the author, if Pullman's preface is anything to go by: "It's flattering, of course, to find one's work the object of such care and attention; but how much more satisfying when the work of reference that results is so accurate, and so interesting, and so good.”
“After reading so many in the series, this years preface is a bit too familiar, although he did throw in a couple of funny lines.”
“His "principal object," he claims in the preface, is to "perpetuate the successful efforts made by him" to improve British soldiers 'diet.”
“It's been good to compare then and now and Charles Michael's 1905 preface is also interesting,”
“The othering in Shelley's preface is not between the”
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