1 of 2


old-fashioned + literary
: preceding in time : earlier than : before entry 2 sense 2
ere nightfall
'The wind is north from the snows,' said Aragorn. 'And ere morning it will be in the East,' said Legolas.J. R. R. Tolkien


2 of 2


old-fashioned + literary
: before entry 3
"Rumor has it that there will be a wedding in our village ere the daisies are in bloom. … "Lucy Maud Montgomery
I was scarcely in position ere my enemies began to arrive …Robert Louis Stevenson

Examples of ere in a Sentence

Preposition an old typewriter that was a relic of that ancient time ere the invention of personal computers

Word History



Middle English er, from Old English ǣr, from ǣr, adverb, early, soon; akin to Old High German ēr earlier, Greek ēri early

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ere was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ere

Cite this Entry

“Ere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 preposition
(ˌ)e(ə)r How to pronounce ere (audio)


2 of 2 conjunction

More from Merriam-Webster on ere

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