an·​te·​ri·​or | \an-ˈtir-ē-ər \

Definition of anterior 

1a : situated before or toward the front an anterior ligament

b : situated near or toward the head or part most nearly corresponding to a head

2 : coming before in time or development labor problems anterior to the strike

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Other Words from anterior

anteriorly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for anterior

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

Did You Know?

Anterior generally appears in either medical or scholarly contexts. Anatomy books refer to the anterior lobe of the brain, the anterior cerebral artery, the anterior facial vein, etc. Scholar and lawyers may use anterior to mean "earlier in time or order". For example, supporters of states' rights point out that the individual states enjoyed certain rights anterior to their joining the union. And prenuptial agreements are designed to protect the assets that one or both parties acquired anterior to the marriage.

Examples of anterior in a Sentence

the anterior part of the brain the anterior chamber of the eye is bounded in front by the cornea

Recent Examples on the Web

These anterior muscles, including the quads and hips, are the primary movers while the muscles on the backside of your body isometrically contract to form a stable base. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How Lucy Hale's Two-Part Lower-Body Move Can Strengthen Your Butt, Legs, and Core," 27 Apr. 2018 During a training session in preparation for the World Cup, Lanzini ruptured his anterior knee ligament, and is set for a long spell on the sidelines., "West Ham to Receive Financial Compensation From FIFA Following Injury to Manuel Lanzini," 10 June 2018 Traumatic shoulder dislocations are broadly classified into anterior ones and posterior ones., "Injury Analysis: Everything You Need to Know About Salah’s Suspected Shoulder Injury in 1 Minute," 27 May 2018 Smith missed his entire rookie season in 2016 recovering from injuries to his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee and overcoming damage to the peroneal nerve in his final game at Notre Dame. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Yoga? Cowboys' Jaylon Smith explains how his new offseason routine is paying off," 31 May 2018 Tiger Woods had his spinal fusion operation (anterior lumbar interbody fusion) in April 2017. Houston Chronicle, "10 steps to protect your heart, brain and body from disease and premature aging," 20 May 2018 The 21-year-old had surgery last June to repair the left anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, and his return was projected at 12-to-14 months. Washington Post, "Buehler, Dodgers’ bullpen combine to no-hit Padres in Mexico," 5 May 2018 There is usually persistent pain over the ACJ which is located at your anterior shoulder., "Injury Analysis: Everything You Need to Know About Isco’s ACJ Injury in 1 Minute," 30 Apr. 2018 And then there’s our friend the anterior cingulate gyrus, aka the worrywart center, which is more developed in the female brain. Katty Kay, Time, "How to Help Young Girls Keep Their Confidence During Puberty," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anterior.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anterior

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for anterior

Latin, comparative of ante before — more at ante-

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Statistics for anterior

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for anterior

The first known use of anterior was in 1541

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English Language Learners Definition of anterior

: near or toward the front of something (such as the body)


an·​te·​ri·​or | \an-ˈtir-ē-ər \

Medical Definition of anterior 

1 : relating to or situated near or toward the head or toward the part in headless animals most nearly corresponding to the head

2 : situated toward the front of the body : ventral used in human anatomy because of the upright posture of humans

Other Words from anterior

anteriorly adverb

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Comments on anterior

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


playful or foolish behavior

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