adverb or adjective be·fore \bi-ˈfr, bē-\

: at an earlier time

: to or toward the place where someone is going : in advance

Full Definition of BEFORE

:  in advance :  ahead <marching on before>
:  at an earlier time <the night before> <knew her before>

Origin of BEFORE

Middle English, adverb & preposition, from Old English beforan, from be- + foran before, from fore
First Known Use: before 12th century



: at a time preceding (something or someone) : earlier than (something or someone)

—used to describe a time earlier than a specified hour

: preceding (something or someone) in order or in a series

Full Definition of BEFORE

a (1) :  forward of :  in front of <stood before the fire> (2) :  in the presence of <speaking before the conference>
b :  under the jurisdiction or consideration of <the case before the court>
c (1) :  at the disposal of <the great sums placed before him>
(2) :  in store for <got the whole summer before you>
:  preceding in time :  earlier than <just before noon>
:  in a higher or more important position than <put quantity before quality>

Examples of BEFORE

  1. We arrived shortly before six o'clock.
  2. He left just before sunrise.
  3. I've never seen her so happy before now.
  4. Call me before your arrival.
  5. She arrived the day before yesterday.
  6. Why haven't you ever helped me before now?
  7. Your name is listed before mine.
  8. You'll see my house just before the bank and after the school.
  9. The Great Plains stretched endlessly before them.
  10. The championship fight took place before a crowd of thousands.

First Known Use of BEFORE

before 12th century

Related to BEFORE

afore [chiefly dialect], ahead of, ere, fore (also 'fore) [chiefly dialect], of, previous to, prior to, to, in advance of, in advance of, in front of
after, following



: earlier than the time that : earlier than when

: until the time that

—used to refer to something that might happen

Full Definition of BEFORE

a (1) :  earlier than the time that <call me before you go> (2) :  sooner or quicker than <I'll be done before you know it> (3) :  so that … do not <get out of there before you get dirty>
b :  until the time that <miles to go before I sleep — Robert Frost>
c (1) :  or else … not <must be convicted before he can be removed from office>
(2) :  or else <get out of here before I call a cop>
:  rather or sooner than <would starve before he'd steal>

Examples of BEFORE

  1. He left long before morning came.
  2. Say goodbye before you go.
  3. Call me before you arrive.
  4. I finished the exam before he did.
  5. It was not long before he arrived.

First Known Use of BEFORE

13th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: beforehandPrevious Word in the Dictionary: befoolAll Words Near: before
May 26, 2015
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