Definition of prologue in US English:



  • 1A separate introductory section of a literary or musical work.

    ‘this idea is outlined in the prologue’
    • ‘This prologue masquerading as an epilogue does not provide the expected closure, but instead another opening into the text.’
    • ‘Like the novel it studies, it is framed by a prologue and epilogue that place the core of the book in an extremely revealing and resonant context.’
    • ‘In an opening prologue, Wilmot tells the audience that they will not like him.’
    • ‘The epilogue repeats the prologue: people are born into this world, they quarrel, they love, they die, and there lies the higher meaning of life.’
    • ‘She brings up many a valid point throughout the prologue but Chaucer voids her opinion because of her social class and looks when in truth she is actually wise.’
    • ‘In this prologue, Chaucer introduces all of the characters who are involved in this imaginary journey and who will tell the tales.’
    • ‘He was a friend of Dryden, for several of whose plays he wrote prologues and epilogues.’
    • ‘If you haven't read the prologues yet this won't make any sense.’
    • ‘The prologue introduces this theme by describing the cycle of the seasons ‘north of everything’ where fall turns to winter and then spring.’
    • ‘The piece has an extremely haunting ending, an epilogue that reflects the prologue of alternating canons, consisting of a twelve tone row and based exclusively on minor seconds and tritones.’
    • ‘The prologue that sets the tone of the book depicts a vivid bond with the tropics, a keen interest in the weather inspired by his father, a spirit of adventure, observations about people and an innate bond with the rain.’
    • ‘The brief prologue to Love is a Treasure shows a veterinarian caring for a badly injured guinea pig.’
    • ‘The tone is that of rancorous comedy, and there is skill in the writing, but the play, unlike the movie, is weighed down with a confusing prologue and a clumsy epilogue.’
    • ‘Although many of the words and phrases of the Prologue are found in numerous secular Greek literary prologues, two have a ‘Christian’ nuance.’
    • ‘The announcement of the prologue and each successive part frames it additionally as a literary text, which is conventionally partitioned.’
    • ‘This novel consists of three primary sections that are framed by a prologue and an epilogue.’
    • ‘As you can see, it goes straight to the point without any prologues or any kind of introduction.’
    • ‘The book contains 11 chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue, and an extensive suggested reading list.’
    • ‘As the poet tells us in the prologue and again in the epilogue, the superior value of saints' lives in comparison to secular literature resides in the better advantages of the former.’
    • ‘His explanation that it was put aside as a mere prologue to another book doesn't carry complete conviction.’
    introduction, foreword, preface, preamble, prelude, preliminary
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An event or action that leads to another event or situation.
      ‘civil unrest in a few isolated villages became the prologue to widespread rebellion’
      • ‘The Ark brought Hancock to public attention in the late 1980s and has formed the prologue to his search for lost civilisations.’
      • ‘They also condition profoundly interaction within and between regional international systems, and underlie the long prologue to the quite recent development of a truly global international system.’
      • ‘History is a prologue written in stone, but the present offers new possibilities.’
      • ‘There had been a prologue to this confrontation.’
      • ‘A few more weeks of reports like this and the 6% growth rate in the second half of 2003 will look less like a fluke and more like a prologue to the first half of 2004.’
      • ‘With cold indifference, Mark knew it was only a prologue to what was to come later.’
      • ‘Still, two senior WPP execs see her likely exit as a prologue to her leaving altogether.’
      • ‘This has been the common prologue to the academic career of many engineering hopefuls.’
      • ‘Only in this way will its temporary revolutionary hegemony become the prologue to a socialist dictatorship.’
      • ‘Thirty years later, the miners' triumph in 1974 looks hubristic, an ironic prologue to the tragedy of 1984-85.’
      • ‘The progression had been gradual, a series of tiny, inconsequential steps, a typical prologue to a cataclismic event.’
      • ‘Even if it is the History Channel and not the Myth Channel, I expected at least a nod to this prologue to the historical events.’
      • ‘However, it was the prologue to the England game which was most instructive about the rottenness of the state.’
    2. 1.2 (in professional cycling) a short preliminary time trial held before a race to establish a leader.
      • ‘I'd love to win the Tour prologue.’
      • ‘It shouldn't come as a surprise that he can climb, as a former mountainbiker, but this guy also had an excellent prologue and an average time-trial at Romandie.’
      • ‘It might be good to know that Muravyev is a time-trial specialist and a longshot for the prologue.’
      • ‘He was also exceedingly unlucky not to pick up the leader's yellow jersey on the prologue, only missing out when his chain slipped in the latter stages.’
      • ‘My personal goal was to try and test myself as well as some new equipment in the prologue and in the time trial on Mt. Ventoux.’
      • ‘Cunego is off and in about a minute twenty we will know who wins the prologue.’
      • ‘It will be the first time trial of next year's Tour, apart from the short prologue, and race organizers hope the idea will keep the race alive until the latest possible date.’
      • ‘Saturday's Prologue is structured for the family, with free admission.’
      • ‘He has worn the yellow jersey of the Tour leader before after winning the prologue at the centenary year of the race in Paris.’
      • ‘Lance Armstrong sent that unmistakable message to his rivals this evening in the prologue to the 101st Tour de France.’
      • ‘The next three days would consist of gear checks with the race crew, skills testing, and the race prologue, a mini race to determine the seeding for the start of the race.’
      • ‘Last season he won the opening prologue, donning the yellow jersey as a result.’
      • ‘Armstrong won the prologue and holds the leader's Yellow jersey.’
      • ‘At Saturday's prologue, Parisians took their time to line the route.’
      • ‘While he seems to have lost the sharpness he had early on in his career, hopefully Bodrogi can hold his good form for the Tour de France and, more precisely, the race prologue.’
      • ‘Such things will not distract him from the task ahead, which involves defending the tour prologue.’
      • ‘There are two rest days, three individual time trials including the prologue, and one team time trial.’
      • ‘The prologue is a time trial in the far south of Italy.’
      • ‘Millar stunned his fellow professionals by winning the Tour prologue on his debut in 2000 and retaining the race lead for three days.’
    3. 1.3 The actor who delivers the prologue in a play.


Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek prologos, from pro- ‘before’ + logos ‘saying’.