Meaning of preliminary in English:


Pronunciation /prɪˈlɪmɪn(ə)ri/

See synonyms for preliminary

Translate preliminary into Spanish


  • Preceding or done in preparation for something fuller or more important.

    ‘a preliminary draft’
    • ‘the discussions were seen as preliminary to the policy paper’
    • ‘There are several very important reasons for this preliminary arm action.’
    • ‘The news comes as the inquiry prepares to hold two preliminary meetings in York next month to discuss the format and conduct of the hearings.’
    • ‘The company has agreed to prepare preliminary proposals based on feedback received at the workshop and exhibition.’
    • ‘During this time, they would prepare gravestones and do preliminary carving.’
    • ‘Harsh northern conditions demand careful and preliminary preparation of personnel.’
    • ‘Memos also served as preliminary drafts of the results and discussion sections of this paper.’
    • ‘At that time, the Child Support Guidelines were not yet in force but preliminary drafts were available.’
    • ‘He added he believed the information he held was enough for the initiation of preliminary investigations.’
    • ‘These laws lead to arbitrary arrests and detentions for long periods without any preliminary trial.’
    • ‘The preparation of the preliminary report by Tobin Consultants will take approximately six months to complete.’
    • ‘A preliminary design has been prepared and is included in the safer routes to schools report to the county council.’
    • ‘It was announced that last week's paper was only a preliminary draft.’
    • ‘Feeling satisfied with this preliminary exploration of the market, I went back to my room.’
    • ‘The trial is still in preliminary stages, but the projects scientists are optimistic.’
    • ‘The numbers from these tests are still very preliminary and are mostly being kept under wraps.’
    • ‘Up to 100 preliminary experiments were needed to obtain acceptable resolution.’
    • ‘Before a trial starts, preliminary data should therefore support the study hypothesis.’
    preparatory, introductory, initial, opening, prefatory, prior, preceding, lead-in, initiatory, precursory
    in preparation for, before, in advance of, prior to, ahead of, preparatory to
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nounplural noun preliminaries

  • 1A preliminary action or event.

    ‘the bombardment was resumed as a preliminary to an infantry attack’
    • ‘After the written preliminary, the six teams which qualified appeared on stage for the finals.’
    • ‘He had no sooner set about the preliminaries - the getting of suitable marble for his work - than he began to quarrel with the men who were to hew it.’
    • ‘This long march requires many small steps and wide-ranging preliminaries in confidence rebuilding.’
    • ‘Some account of this earlier observation is therefore a necessary preliminary to the main investigation.’
    prelude, preparation, preliminary measure, preparatory measure, preliminary action, overture, groundwork, first round
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    1. 1.1preliminariesBusiness or talk, especially of a formulaic or polite nature, taking place before an action or event.
      ‘she began speaking, without preliminaries’
      • ‘The preliminaries were polite, but from the outset it was clear that both men were in Braehead to put on a show.’
      • ‘To return to your Honour the Chief Justice, the idea is that these preliminaries to business will be completed.’
      • ‘When two minds are focused on a problem, and look at the problem with similar prejudices of what is correct and what is not, conversations need no preliminaries.’
      • ‘She couldn't wait to tell the usual gang gathered for dinner at Mrs. J's, waiting impatiently until the ritual conversational preliminaries eventually played out.’
      introduction, preamble, opening, opening remarks, prefatory remarks, formalities
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    2. 1.2A preliminary round in a sporting competition.
      ‘Mbazima and Mwansa qualified to the finals after emerging first in a round-robin format during preliminaries of the three day tournament.’
      • ‘He was signed by Efes Istanbul in Turkey and had a terrific showing in leading underdog Latvia out of the preliminaries of the European Championships.’
      • ‘The tournament saw some 32 teams competing in the preliminaries.’
      • ‘We all knew that Australia were the favourites and in the preliminaries only England made them sweat although they occasionally had to make a special effort.’
      • ‘Three teams were eliminated in the preliminaries leaving Arrows, Buffaloes, Eagles and City of Lusaka to qualify to the semi-finals’
      • ‘While the preliminary was full of excitement, the final was enthralling.’
    3. 1.3preliminariesThe prelims of a text.
      front matter, introductory material, preliminary material, prefatory material, forward matter, introduction, foreword, preface, preamble
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    preliminary to
    • Preparatory to; in advance of.

      ‘The archaeological excavation is a necessary preliminary to that work, and pipe laying cannot take place until the archaeology has been completed.’
      • ‘More dramatically, we looked over the house that ‘Venice in Peril’ have had surveyed as a preliminary to the city repairing it and dividing it up.’
      • ‘The Miss Universe Zambia is the official preliminary to the Miss Universe pageant held every year.’
      • ‘It's merely a preliminary to the long and painful efforts to undo the damage, which have no guarantee of success.’
      • ‘This was clearly preliminary to a renewed attempt to expand into Scotland, and by AD 142-3 southern Scotland was reoccupied by the Roman forces.’
      in preparation for, before, in advance of, prior to, ahead of, preparatory to
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century from modern Latin praeliminaris or French préliminaire, from Latin prae ‘before’ + limen, limin- ‘threshold’.