from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A beginning or introductory part, especially of a speech or treatise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A beginning
  • n. The introduction to a paper or discourse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A beginning; an introduction; especially, the introductory part of a discourse or written composition, which prepares the audience for the main subject; the opening part of an oration.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The beginning of anything; specifically, the introductory part of a discourse, intended to prepare the audience for the main subject; the preface or proemial part of a composition.
  • n. Synonyms Proem; Prelude, Preface, etc. See introduction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (rhetoric) the introductory section of an oration or discourse


Latin, from exōrdīrī, to begin : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + ōrdīrī, to begin; see ar- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin exōrdium ("beginning, commencement"), from exōrdior ("I begin, commence"), from ex ("out of, from") + ōrdior ("I begin"). (Wiktionary)



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  • JM loves a good exordium as long as we’ve been introduced properly.

    May 9, 2011

  • exordium beginning to weave literally: used in the sense of "starting to implement a plan"

    January 22, 2007