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Definition a preliminary introduction to a speech, statute, or other writing — usually explaining its purpose

or more rarely:

anything that precedes something else
  • He answered without preamble.
preamble = a preliminary introduction
  • 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
  • preamble = introduction
  • 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
  • preamble = a preliminary introduction
  • Miss Bartlett at once came forward, and after a long preamble asked a great favour: might she go to church?
    Forster, E. M.  --  A Room With A View
  • Eugenides asked without preamble.
    Megan Whalen Turner  --  Queen of Attolia
  • "You'd do better to talk to me when I'm mad," she said, with no preamble.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • He's just delivering a preamble, warming up his argument.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • It was without preamble or warning.
    William Faulkner  --  Light in August
  • "Why did you give the photo to Ben?" she asked without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Lucky One
  • 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
  • "Why," said Snape, without preamble, "why did you put on that ring?
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • "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
  • 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
  • Mordred, glaring at his father with blazing eyes, announced without preamble: "We came to tell you what every person in this court has always known.
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • There was no ringing preamble.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Stargirl
  • 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
  • One evening, she said without preamble.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • "We need to talk," Charlie said without preamble.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  A Bend in the Road

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