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He answered without preamble.
  a preliminary introduction to a speech, statute, or other writing — usually explaining its purpose

or more rarely:

anything that precedes something else
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  • He answered without preamble.
  • The Court interpreted the preamble as demonstrating that the Constitution emanated from the people — not from the states.
  • And the third suggestion I cannot state until I have made a preamble.
    London, Jack  --  Michael, Brother of Jerry
  • "You will have discipline," he said suddenly, without preamble.
    Jane Yolen  --  The Devils Arithmetic

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  • I was trying to remember the last time Margaret had entered my inner sanctum without some baggage, when she said without preamble or delay, "Mr. Hamilton, Red Stevens just died."
    Jim Stovall  --  The Ultimate Gift
  • "I wish I were coming with you to Idris," he said without preamble.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • With no preamble, the grim-faced man struck Skarpi with a tight fist.
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • There was no ringing preamble.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Stargirl
  • Goins taught a civics class and required his students to study the Preamble to the Constitution.
    Joshua Davis  --  Spare Parts
  • After a few paragraphs, Marie-Laure says without preamble, "Tell me about that bedroom upstairs.
    Anthony Doerr  --  All the Light We Cannot See

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  • Without preamble, every stop pulled out to full volume, Peter was playing the "Wilhelmus"!
    Corrie Ten Boom  --  The Hiding Place
  • "You want to ride with me uptown?" he said without preamble.
    Donna Tartt  --  The Goldfinch
  • One evening, she said without preamble.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • "Consul," said he, without preamble, "I have strong reasons for believing that my man is a passenger on the Mongolia."
    Jules Verne  --  Around the World in 80 Days
  • Harry asked without preamble.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • I woke the others up and then, without preamble, film of the launch was run.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky
  • I could say the preamble to the Constitution even faster than Bailey.
    Maya Angelou  --  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Jace," said Luke, without preamble, "wants a trial before the Clave.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Ashes
  • "You have to tell the police what you did," Ronnie said without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Last Song
  • Without preamble, she said,There is plenty of room for me on the ground now.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • Noirtier’s face remained perfectly passive during this long preamble, while, on the contrary, Villefort’s eye was endeavoring to penetrate into the inmost recesses of the old man’s heart.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Without preamble, Harry told his godfather every detail of the vision he had had, including the fact that he himself had been the snake who had attacked Mr Weasley.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Considering the dramatic preamble, Langdon had expected something more impressive.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • People sickened and died, often with no discernible preamble.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • It was without preamble or warning.
    William Faulkner  --  Light in August
  • He said nothing, and he did not smile, but watched her, wondering to what task this preamble led.
    James Baldwin  --  Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • Miss Bartlett at once came forward, and after a long preamble asked a great favour: might she go to church?
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • "Yes, dear?" she rejoined, so gently that he wondered at the lack of wonder with which she received this preamble.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • Simon supposed it was a nice change of pace for her to be able to show her Marks off in a place where no one would think them out of the ordinary "Alec’s going up to the Gard," Isabelle said without preamble.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Glass
  • He tried another preamble.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • He’s just delivering a preamble, warming up his argument.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • "We need to talk," Charlie said without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  A Bend in the Road
  • Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet Of charming symphony they introduce Their sacred song, and waken raptures high; No voice exempt, no voice but well could join Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • "I am really sorry that you are in this situation," Amahl said without preamble.
    Betty Mahmoody  --  Not Without My Daughter
  • "You’d do better to talk to me when I’m mad," she said, with no preamble.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • I referred them to the preamble of the Freedom Charter: "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white."
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • Neither question nor answer was meant as anything more than a polite preamble to conversation.
    Arundhati Roy  --  The God of Small Things
  • The words of Anselmo struck Lothario with astonishment, unable as he was to conjecture the purport of such a lengthy preamble; and though be strove to imagine what desire it could be that so troubled his friend, his conjectures were all far from the truth, and to relieve the anxiety which this perplexity was causing him, he told him he was doing a flagrant injustice to their great friendship in seeking circuitous methods of confiding to him his most hidden thoughts, for he well knew he…
    Miguel de Cervantes  --  Don Quixote
  • O dear Madam!" answers Honour, "you must not tell me that, when your ladyship is in this taking, and when there hath been such a preamble between your ladyship and Madam Western.
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • Another secretary began to read a preamble concerning the expenses of the late King’s household, which had amounted to 28,000 pounds during the preceding six months—a sum so vast that it made Tom Canty gasp; he gasped again when the fact appeared that 20,000 pounds of this money was still owing and unpaid; {4} and once more when it appeared that the King’s coffers were about empty, and his twelve hundred servants much embarrassed for lack of the wages due them.
    Mark Twain  --  The Prince and The Pauper
  • The preamble was felt to be rather long, and several besides Solomon shook their heads pathetically, looking on the ground: all eyes avoided meeting other eyes, and were chiefly fixed either on the spots in the table-cloth or on Mr. Standish’s bald head; excepting Mary Garth’s.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • Eugenides asked without preamble.
    Megan Whalen Turner  --  Queen of Attolia
  • Without warning or preamble, the sound stopped.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Inheritance
  • Without preamble, the photographer removed one of his legs.
    Erik Larson  --  The Devil in the White City
  • It awaited only a preamble which, as drafted by Adams, was a still more radical statement.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • "Johnnie Consadine," returned Shade, without evasion or preamble.
    Grace MacGowan Cooke  --  The Power and the Glory
  • "Gimme the money you been earning," his father said without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Best of Me
  • He attacked her savagely, thrusting himself into her without preamble, with unnecessary brutality.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • "First off, I want to apologize for the way I talked to you," she said without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  Safe Haven
  • Alice was part of my dream, and I wondered if she had really come back at all, or if that was just the preamble.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  New Moon
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Associated words [difficulty]:   preamble [4]
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