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Of, relating to, or constituting a preface; introductory. See Synonyms at preliminary.

[From Latin praefātus, past participle of praefārī, to say before; see preface.]

pref′a·to′ri·ly adv.


(ˈprɛfətərɪ; -trɪ) or


of, involving, or serving as a preface; introductory
[C17: from Latin praefārī to say in advance; see preface]
ˈprefatorily, ˌprefaˈtorially adv


(ˈprɛf əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i)

also pref`a•to′ri•al,

of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a preface: prefatory explanations.
[1665–75; < Latin praefāt(iō) preface + -ory1]
pref′a•to`ri•ly, adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.prefatory - serving as an introduction or preface
preceding - existing or coming before


1. Before or in preparation for the main matter, action, or business:
2. Serving to introduce a subject or person, for example:


[ˈprefətərɪ] ADJ (frm) [remarks, article, note] → preliminar, introductorio


References in classic literature ?
There is no need for me to add more to these few prefatory words than is here written.
I have heard of a dramatic writer who used to say, he would rather write a play than a prologue; in like manner, I think, I can with less pains write one of the books of this history than the prefatory chapter to each of them.
Homer, after a few prefatory words, at once brings in a man, or woman, or other personage; none of them wanting in characteristic qualities, but each with a character of his own.
This prefatory narrative I have already got by me in the form of an old family paper, which relates the necessary particulars on the authority of an eye-witness.
What the plan of the poem is Spenser explains in a prefatory letter to Sir Walter Ralegh.
With these prefatory words, he described the events that had followed Mrs.
In Wordsworth's prefatory advertisement to the first edition of The Prelude, published in 1850, it is stated that that work was intended to be introductory to The Recluse: and that The Recluse, if completed, would have consisted of three parts.
I lost no time in beginning my inquiries; I wasted no words in prefatory phrases.
The real name of the little man was Harris, but it had gradually merged into the less euphonious one of Trotters, which, with the prefatory adjective, Short, had been conferred upon him by reason of the small size of his legs.
"You understand English?" was the prefatory question.
In a prefatory note to 'Mardi' (1849), Melville declares that, as his former books have been received as romance instead of reality, he will now try his hand at pure fiction.
The scenario, or outline, of the Countess's play began with no formal prefatory phrases.