prelude

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a prelude to (something)

An introductory event or action. The economic troubles of these companies were just a prelude to the global financial meltdown that would the following year. We regard these acts of aggression as a prelude to war.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

prelude to something

an act or event that comes before and signals another act or event. Her rudeness to her boss was a prelude to her resignation. The Munich Pact was a prelude to World War II.
See also: prelude
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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