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A clause at the beginning of a constitution or statute explaining the reasons for its enactment and the objectives it seeks to attain.

Generally a preamble is a declaration by the legislature of the reasons for the passage of the statute, and it aids in the interpretation of any ambiguities within the statute to which it is prefixed. It has been held, however, that a preamble is not an essential part of an act, and it neither enlarges nor confers powers.


noun beginning, exordium, foreword, foundation, introduction, introductory part, introductory statement, lead, opening, preface, prefatory note, prelude, prelusion, proem, prolegomenon, prologue
Associated concepts: preamble to a constitution
See also: overture, preface, prelude, threshold


the preliminary part of a document, legislation, a contract or a treaty, usually setting out what it is all about or why it has been prepared, specially used of an Act of Parliament where Parliament expresses the general purposes of the piece of legislation. It can be referred to for the purposes of statutory interpretation.

PREAMBLE. A preface, an introduction or explanation of what is to follow: that clause at the head of acts of congress or other legislatures which explains the reasons why the act is made. Preambles are also frequently put in contracts to, explain the motives of the contracting parties,
     2. A preamble is said to be the key of a statute, to open the minds of the makers as to the mischiefs which are to be remedied, and the objects which are to be accomplished by the provisions of the statutes. It cannot amount, by implication, to enlarge what is expressly given. 1 Story on Const. B 3, c. 6. How far a preamble is to be considered evidence of the facts it recites, see 4 M. & S. 532; 1 Phil. Ev. 239; 2 Russ. on Cr. 720; and see, generally, Ersk. L. of Scotl. 1, 1, 18; Toull. liv. 3, n. 318; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 239; 4 L. R. 55; Barr. on the Stat. 353, 370.

References in classic literature ?
And after his long preamble, the three words burst against Lucy like waves from the open sea.
And the third suggestion I cannot state until I have made a preamble.
interrupted the prince, who had been beating the ground with his foot impatiently during this stately preamble.
My dear colleagues," said Barbicane, without further preamble, "the subject now before us is the construction of the engine, its length, its composition, and its weight.
And so, whether our conclusion be true or false, let us assume all this, and proceed at once from the prelude or preamble to the chief strain, and describe that in like manner.
answers Honour, "you must not tell me that, when your ladyship is in this taking, and when there hath been such a preamble between your ladyship and Madam Western.
But, before a wheel turns, listen to a brief preamble through the cardiaphone, which shall point out to you an object of interest on life's sightseeing tour.
You are going to know all; and, without further preamble, I am going to place before your eyes the problem of The Yellow Room as it was placed before the eyes of the entire world on the day following the enactment of the drama at the Chateau du Glandier.
I can guess what you would tell me," the editor had kindly but firmly interrupted her lengthy preamble in the long-looked-forward-to interview just ended.
In the preamble of a certain famous State paper he had declared once that "the thought of liberty has never existed in the Act of the Creator.
In LTE (Long Term Evolution) release 8, FFTs of different size are used for user data and random-access preambles requiring additional FFTs to be implemented for random-access reception.
Federal agencies continue to use preambles to regulatory rules as a means to preempt the rights of injured citizens to hold powerful corporations accountable for wrongdoing.