Definition of preliminary in English:

preliminary

adjective

  • Preceding or done in preparation for something fuller or more important.

    ‘a preliminary draft’
    ‘the discussions were seen as preliminary to the policy paper’
    • ‘At that time, the Child Support Guidelines were not yet in force but preliminary drafts were available.’
    • ‘Harsh northern conditions demand careful and preliminary preparation of personnel.’
    • ‘It was announced that last week's paper was only a preliminary draft.’
    • ‘A preliminary design has been prepared and is included in the safer routes to schools report to the county council.’
    • ‘The numbers from these tests are still very preliminary and are mostly being kept under wraps.’
    • ‘There are several very important reasons for this preliminary arm action.’
    • ‘Before a trial starts, preliminary data should therefore support the study hypothesis.’
    • ‘During this time, they would prepare gravestones and do preliminary carving.’
    • ‘The preparation of the preliminary report by Tobin Consultants will take approximately six months to complete.’
    • ‘The news comes as the inquiry prepares to hold two preliminary meetings in York next month to discuss the format and conduct of the hearings.’
    • ‘He added he believed the information he held was enough for the initiation of preliminary investigations.’
    • ‘Feeling satisfied with this preliminary exploration of the market, I went back to my room.’
    • ‘Up to 100 preliminary experiments were needed to obtain acceptable resolution.’
    • ‘The company has agreed to prepare preliminary proposals based on feedback received at the workshop and exhibition.’
    • ‘The trial is still in preliminary stages, but the projects scientists are optimistic.’
    • ‘These laws lead to arbitrary arrests and detentions for long periods without any preliminary trial.’
    • ‘Memos also served as preliminary drafts of the results and discussion sections of this paper.’
    preparatory, introductory, initial, opening, prefatory, prior, preceding, lead-in, initiatory, precursory
    in preparation for, before, in advance of, prior to, ahead of, preparatory to
    qualifying, eliminating
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A preliminary action or event.

    ‘the bombardment was resumed as a preliminary to an infantry attack’
    • ‘This long march requires many small steps and wide-ranging preliminaries in confidence rebuilding.’
    • ‘Some account of this earlier observation is therefore a necessary preliminary to the main investigation.’
    • ‘He had no sooner set about the preliminaries - the getting of suitable marble for his work - than he began to quarrel with the men who were to hew it.’
    • ‘After the written preliminary, the six teams which qualified appeared on stage for the finals.’
    prelude, preparation, preliminary measure, preparatory measure, preliminary action, overture, groundwork, first round
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1preliminaries Business or talk, especially of a formulaic or polite nature, taking place before an action or event.
      ‘she began speaking, without preliminaries’
      • ‘To return to your Honour the Chief Justice, the idea is that these preliminaries to business will be completed.’
      • ‘The preliminaries were polite, but from the outset it was clear that both men were in Braehead to put on a show.’
      • ‘When two minds are focused on a problem, and look at the problem with similar prejudices of what is correct and what is not, conversations need no preliminaries.’
      • ‘She couldn't wait to tell the usual gang gathered for dinner at Mrs. J's, waiting impatiently until the ritual conversational preliminaries eventually played out.’
      introduction, preamble, opening, opening remarks, prefatory remarks, formalities
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A preliminary round in a sporting competition.
      • ‘Mbazima and Mwansa qualified to the finals after emerging first in a round-robin format during preliminaries of the three day tournament.’
      • ‘The tournament saw some 32 teams competing in the preliminaries.’
      • ‘While the preliminary was full of excitement, the final was enthralling.’
      • ‘We all knew that Australia were the favourites and in the preliminaries only England made them sweat although they occasionally had to make a special effort.’
      • ‘Three teams were eliminated in the preliminaries leaving Arrows, Buffaloes, Eagles and City of Lusaka to qualify to the semi-finals’
      • ‘He was signed by Efes Istanbul in Turkey and had a terrific showing in leading underdog Latvia out of the preliminaries of the European Championships.’
    3. 1.3preliminaries The prelims of a text.
      front matter, introductory material, preliminary material, prefatory material, forward matter, introduction, foreword, preface, preamble
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • preliminary to

    • Preparatory to; in advance of.

      • ‘The archaeological excavation is a necessary preliminary to that work, and pipe laying cannot take place until the archaeology has been completed.’
      • ‘It's merely a preliminary to the long and painful efforts to undo the damage, which have no guarantee of success.’
      • ‘More dramatically, we looked over the house that ‘Venice in Peril’ have had surveyed as a preliminary to the city repairing it and dividing it up.’
      • ‘The Miss Universe Zambia is the official preliminary to the Miss Universe pageant held every year.’
      • ‘This was clearly preliminary to a renewed attempt to expand into Scotland, and by AD 142-3 southern Scotland was reoccupied by the Roman forces.’
      in preparation for, before, in advance of, prior to, ahead of, preparatory to
      View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: from modern Latin praeliminaris or French préliminaire, from Latin prae ‘before’ + limen, limin- ‘threshold’.

Pronunciation

preliminary

/prɪˈlɪmɪn(ə)ri/