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1

before

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

Simple Definition of before

  • : at an earlier time

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

Full Definition of before

  1. 1 :  in advance :  ahead <marching on before>

  2. 2 :  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


2

before

preposition be·fore

Simple Definition of before

  • : 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

  1. 1 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>

  2. 2 :  preceding in time :  earlier than <just before noon>

  3. 3 :  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.



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of before

before 12th century


3

before

conjunction be·fore

Simple Definition of before

  • : earlier than the time that : earlier than when

  • : until the time that

  • —used to refer to something that might happen

Full Definition of before

  1. 1 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>

  2. 2 :  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.



13th Century

First Known Use of before

13th century



BEFORE Defined for Kids

1

before

play
adverb be·fore \bi-ˈfȯr\

Definition of before

  1. 1 :  at an earlier time <I've been here before.>

  2. 2 :  ahead <go on before>




2

before

play
preposition be·fore

Definition of before

  1. 1 :  in front of <He stood before a mirror.>

  2. 2 :  earlier than <You got there before me.>

  3. 3 :  before in order <Your name is listed before mine.>

  4. 4 :  in the presence of <She spoke before a crowd.>




3

before

play
conjunction be·fore

Definition of before

  1. 1 :  ahead of the time when <Wash before you eat.>

  2. 2 :  sooner or quicker than <I'll be done before you know it.>

  3. 3 :  more willingly than <I'd starve before I'd steal.>

  4. 4 :  until the time that <It wasn't long before he caught on.>





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