1

before

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

Definition of before

  1. 1 :  in advance :  ahead marching on before

  2. 2 :  at an earlier time the night before knew her before

Origin and Etymology 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

Definition of before

  1. 1a (1) :  forward of :  in front of stood before the fire (2) :  in the presence of speaking before the conferenceb :  under the jurisdiction or consideration of the case before the courtc (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 in a sentence

  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.

Origin and Etymology of before

Middle English before, beforen, going back to Old English beforan — more at 1before


First Known Use: before 12th century


3

before

conjunction be·fore

Definition of before

  1. 1a (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 dirtyb :  until the time that miles to go before I sleep — Robert Frostc (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 in a sentence

  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.

Origin and Etymology of before

Middle English before, beforen, from before, beforen, 2before


First Known Use: 13th century


BEFORE Defined for English Language Learners

1

before

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

Definition of before for English Language Learners

  • : at an earlier time

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


2

before

preposition be·fore

Definition of before for English Language Learners

  • : 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


3

before

conjunction be·fore

Definition of before for English Language Learners

  • : earlier than the time that : earlier than when

  • : until the time that

  • —used to refer to something that might happen


BEFORE Defined for Kids

1

before

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adverb be·fore \bi-ˈfȯr\

Definition of before for Students

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

  2. 2 :  ahead go on before


2

before

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preposition be·fore

Definition of before for Students

  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

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conjunction be·fore

Definition of before for Students

  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.


Law Dictionary

before

preposition be·fore

Legal Definition of before

  1. 1 :  in the presence of then personally appeared before me

  2. 2 :  to be judged or acted on by a case before the court a bill coming up before Congress



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