Definition of prologue in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈprōˌlôɡ/


1A separate introductory section of a literary or musical work: this idea is outlined in the prologue
More example sentences
  • In this prologue, Chaucer introduces all of the characters who are involved in this imaginary journey and who will tell the tales.
  • This novel consists of three primary sections that are framed by a prologue and an epilogue.
  • Although many of the words and phrases of the Prologue are found in numerous secular Greek literary prologues, two have a ‘Christian’ nuance.
introduction, foreword, preface, preamble, prelude
informal intro, lead-in
formal exordium, proem, prolegomenon
1.1An event or action that leads to another event or situation: civil unrest in a few isolated villages became the prologue to widespread rebellion
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.2(In professional cycling) a short preliminary time trial held before a race to establish a leader.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • The prologue is a time trial in the far south of Italy.
  • 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.
1.3The actor who delivers the prologue in a play.


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

  • logic from Late Middle English:

    Logic came via Old French from late Latin, and from Greek logikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of reason’; the base is Greek logos ‘word, reason’, found also in prologue (Middle English) ‘words said before’. Logo, a 1930s shortening of logogram, ‘a sign representing a word or phrase, shorthand’, or of the printing term logotype, ‘a single piece of type that prints a word, phrase, or symbol’ (both E19th) also goes back to logos.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·logue

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.