WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
pre•lim•i•nar•y /prɪˈlɪməˌnɛri/USA pronunciation   adj., n., pl.  -nar•ies. 
  1. going before and leading up to the main part;
    preparatory:The preliminary details had been worked out.

n. [countable]
  1. something that goes before and serves to lead up to something else, as an introductory step or stage in some development:Once the social preliminaries were over, the two sides got down to serious discussion.
  2. Sporta sports or athletic contest that takes place before the main event on the program.
See -lim-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
pre•lim•i•nar•y  (pri limə ner′ē),USA pronunciation adj., n., pl.  -nar•ies. 
  1. preceding and leading up to the main part, matter, or business;
    preparatory:preliminary examinations.

  1. something preliminary, as an introductory or preparatory step, measure, contest, etc.:He passed the preliminary and went on to the finals.
  2. a boxing match or other athletic contest that takes place before the main event on the program:A preliminary was fought at 8:00.
  3. a preliminary examination, as of a candidate for an academic degree.
  4. Printingpreliminaries, See  front matter. 
pre•lim′i•nari•ly, adv. 
  • French prélimin(aire) and Neo-Latin praelīmin(āris) (see pre-, liminal) + -ary
  • 1650–60
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged prefatory.
      Preliminary, introductory both refer to that which comes before the principal subject of consideration. That which is
      preliminary is in the nature of preparation or of clearing away details which would encumber the main subject or problem;
      it often deals with arrangements and the like, which have to do only incidentally with the principal subject:preliminary negotiations.That which is
      introductory leads with natural, logical, or close connection directly into the main subject of consideration:introductory steps.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged concluding.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

preliminary /prɪˈlɪmɪnərɪ/ adj
  1. (usually prenominal) occurring before or in preparation; introductory
n ( pl -naries)
  1. a preliminary event or occurrence
  2. an eliminating contest held before the main competition
Etymology: 17th Century: from New Latin praelīmināris, from Latin prae before + līmen threshold

preˈliminarily adv

'preliminary' also found in these entries:

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