Definition of prelim in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprēlim/


1An event that precedes or prepares for another, in particular.
Example sentences
  • All the prelims events will be over and done with on the first day itself, so that only the finalists are in the fray on the second day.
  • It's going to come out anyway at the prelim, and there really isn't any precedent for this.
  • Jean Biswas, who managed the prelims in Bangalore, says that the event is an attempt to ‘help the married woman discover herself’.
1.1A preliminary examination, especially at a college.
Example sentences
  • They are causing maximum unrest at a critical phase for all our senior pupils as they approach their prelim examinations.
  • He keeps meaning to study for his Highers, but so far he's failed all his prelims.
  • 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.
1.2A preliminary round in an athletic competition: the prelims of the 400-meter free relay
More example sentences
  • ‘I have my selections for the prelim rounds, but only one swimmer identified for the finals,’ he said.
  • 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.
  • He's a great swimmer and was fast in the prelims and semi-finals.
2 (prelims) The pages preceding the main text of a book, including the title, contents, and preface.


Late 19th century: abbreviation of preliminary.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·lim

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