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adjective pre·ced·ing \pri-ˈsē-diŋ\

Simple Definition of preceding

  • : existing, happening, or coming before

Full Definition of preceding

  1. :  existing, coming, or occurring immediately before in time or place <the preceding day> <preceding paragraphs>

Examples of preceding

  1. The once refulgent reign of Queen Elizabeth had come to a stale and frustrated end in the preceding year, and a new monarch had been imported from Scotland … —Christopher Hitchens, New York Times Book Review, 18 May 2003

  2. The building code, layered with attempts to correct the ignorance of preceding generations, is a set of rules for coping with some of the most unruly moods of the land: mudslides, wildfires, steep slopes, a dearth of water and a surfeit of seismic activity. —Timothy Egan, New York Times, 20 Feb. 1994

  3. I have had a fever of about three weeks during the last and preceding month, from which I am entirely recovered except as to strength. —Thomas Jefferson, letter, 4 Sept. 1823

  4. The preceding week he had been on vacation.

  5. <had not eaten since the preceding day>

Origin of preceding

(see precede)

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of preceding

preceding, antecedent, foregoing, previous, prior, former, anterior mean being before. preceding usually implies being immediately before in time or in place <the preceding sentence>. antecedent applies to order in time and may suggest a causal relation <conditions antecedent to the revolution>. foregoing applies chiefly to statements <the foregoing remarks>. previous and prior imply existing or occurring earlier, but prior often adds an implication of greater importance <a child from a previous marriage> <a prior obligation>. former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter <the former name of the company>. anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order <the anterior lobe of the brain>.

PRECEDING Defined for Kids


adjective pre·ced·ing \pri-ˈsē-diŋ\

Definition of preceding

  1. :  existing or happening before in time or place :  previous <the preceding week>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up preceding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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