adjective an·te·ri·or \ an-ˈtir-ē-ər \
|Updated on: 8 Jul 2018

Definition of anterior

1 a : 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



Examples of anterior in a Sentence

  1. the anterior part of the brain

  2. the anterior chamber of the eye is bounded in front by the cornea

Recent Examples of anterior from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of anterior

Latin, comparative of ante before — more at ante-

Synonym Discussion of 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

ANTERIOR Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of anterior for English Language Learners

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

Medical Dictionary


adjective 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



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


to hasten

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!