pre·am·ble (prēăm′bəl, prē-ăm-)
1. A preliminary statement, especially:
a. The introduction to a formal document that explains its purpose.
b. A statement accompanying a law or regulation specifying its purpose or reason for enactment.
2. An introductory occurrence or fact; a preliminary.
[Middle English, from Old French preambule, from Medieval Latin praeambulum, from neuter of Late Latin praeambulus, walking in front : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin ambulāre, to walk; see AMBULATE.]
pre·ambu·lar′y (-byə-lĕr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.