Meaning of overture


An overture is a piece of music played by an orchestra at the beginning of an opera or play. When an overture begins, the actors take their places and wait for the curtain to rise.

The noun overture can also mean “a suggestion or approach designed to get a reaction.” Your romantic overture of singing to your girlfriend in the restaurant was met with an embarrassed stare. An overture can also be an event that comes first, like your story about how the after-school program has helped hundreds of kids, an overture to the plea for donations you made next.

Definitions of overture
  1. noun

    orchestral music played at the beginning of an opera or oratorio

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    type of:


    an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner

  2. noun

    something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows

    “drinks were the
    overture to dinner”

    preliminary, prelude, prologue

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    type of:

    inception, origin, origination

    an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events

  3. noun

    a tentative suggestion designed to elicit the reactions of others


    advance, approach, feeler

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    type of:

    proffer, proposition, suggestion

    a proposal offered for acceptance or rejection

Word Family

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