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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Pre·lim·i·na·ry, n.; pl. Preliminaries  That which precedes the main discourse, work, design, or business; something introductory or preparatory; as, the preliminaries to a negotiation or duel; to take one's preliminaries the year before entering college.
 Syn: -- Introduction; preface; prelude.