prefaces; prefaced; prefacing

A preface is an introduction to the main text of a book, when an author or critic can write directly to the reader. A preface often describes how a book came together, like a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the final product.

The preface is a place for extra context, thoughts, or even disclaimers about the text that follows. In his preface to Lyrical Ballads, the famous poet William Wordsworth wrote, “The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments.” In other words, “Don’t judge me too harshly!” Preface can also be used as a verb meaning "introduce." When you preface a statement with, “No offense but... ,” the person you’re talking to braces for criticism.

Definitions of preface
  1. noun
    a short introductory essay preceding the text of a book
    synonyms: foreword, prolusion
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    type of:
    the first section of a communication
  2. verb
    furnish with a preface or introduction
    “He prefaced his lecture with a critical remark about the institution”
    synonyms: introduce, precede, premise
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    make a preliminary introduction, usually to a formal document
    prologise, prologize, prologuize
    write or speak a prologue
    type of:
    say, state, tell
    express in words
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