a. A preliminary statement or essay introducing a book that explains its scope, intention, or background and is usually written by the author.
b. An introductory section, as of a speech.
2. Something introductory; a preliminary: An informal brunch served as a preface to the three-day conference.
3. often Preface The words introducing the central part of the Eucharist in several Christian churches.
tr.v. pref·aced, pref·ac·ing, pref·ac·es
1. To introduce by or provide with a preliminary statement or essay.
2. To serve as an introduction to.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praefātiō, praefātiōn-, from praefātus, past participle of praefārī, to say before : prae-, pre- + fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.