Definition of prelim in English:



  • 1A preliminary examination, especially at a college.

    • ‘As I watched the press conference, I was thinking that he reminded me of a graduate student at his oral prelims who wasn't really ready, but thought the committee would just let him skate through.’
    • ‘Perhaps, as Professor Merson suggests, school should restore the old prelims and use them to ‘weight’ external exams.’
    • ‘I think I failed my prelims… oh well, the real exam isn't till November!’
    • ‘He keeps meaning to study for his Highers, but so far he's failed all his prelims.’
    • ‘After neglecting my revision, I failed two of my five Higher prelims.’
    • ‘I didn't do as well as I needed to in the prelim but with the tutor I feel more confident and my vocabulary has improved.’
    • ‘They are causing maximum unrest at a critical phase for all our senior pupils as they approach their prelim examinations.’
    • ‘‘I scored an A in the prelim and I'm sure I passed the exam,’ says Tiller.’
    • ‘That student has now been warned to get a 2: 1 in prelims or else be sent down.’
    • ‘I used to have to stay up the whole night before most of my O'level prelims, given that I only tended to start studying the entire year's work at 3 or 4 that afternoon.’
    • ‘Concern is mounting amongst parents that past exam papers, which pupils need to revise for their prelim standard grade exams before Christmas, are not yet on sale in bookshops.’
    1. 1.1 A preliminary round in an athletic competition.
      ‘the prelims of the 400-meter free relay’
      • ‘It took a very long time for me to warm down from the race, and even after my nap between prelims and finals, I didn't feel like I had recovered.’
      • ‘The prelims and semi-finals would be held on the same day.’
      • ‘Phelps is the world record-holder in the 400m IM and takes to the water in prelims in the morning and finals at night.’
      • ‘He still earned a gold medal as a prelim relay swimmer and captured silver in the 200 back along with a fifth-place finish in the 100 back.’
      • ‘Over the course of the week, counting prelims and semifinals, Ally swam no fewer than 30 times!’
      • ‘Unlike the prelims, when five gymnasts from each country compete and four scores count, in the final only three gymnasts perform and all three scores count.’
      • ‘After posting the second fastest times in prelims and semifinals of the 200 fly, Phelps positioned himself perfectly for the final, the biggest race of his life.’
      • ‘If they win, they will be at home the week after in the prelim round to either Ashington or Esh Winning.’
      • ‘He's a great swimmer and was fast in the prelims and semi-finals.’
      • ‘This is one of the prelim rounds to get to go to Paris.’
      • ‘Penny has always swum fast in every race, prelim or finals.’
      • ‘The team were penalized 97 points last year when one swimmer missed the start of his prelim race on the final day.’
      • ‘‘I have my selections for the prelim rounds, but only one swimmer identified for the finals,’ he said.’
      • ‘The event continues tonight at 7pm with the last of the prelims.’
      • ‘Posting spectacular times during the prelims and semifinals, Crocker entered the championship race as the favorite.’
  • 2prelimsThe pages preceding the main text of a book, including the title, contents, and preface.

    front matter, introductory material, preliminary material, prefatory material, forward matter, introduction, foreword, preface, preamble
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: abbreviation of preliminary.