adjective pre·ced·ing \ pri-ˈsē-diŋ \
Updated on: 6 Mar 2018

Definition of preceding

: existing, coming, or occurring immediately before in time or place
  • the preceding day
  • preceding paragraphs

Examples of preceding in a Sentence

  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 HitchensNew York Times Book Review18 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 EganNew York Times20 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 Jeffersonletter4 Sept. 1823
  4. The preceding week he had been on vacation.

  5. had not eaten since the preceding day

Recent Examples of preceding from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of preceding

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 English Language Learners


Definition of preceding for English Language Learners

  • : existing, happening, or coming before

PRECEDING Defined for Kids


adjective pre·ced·ing \ pri-ˈsē-diŋ \

Definition of preceding for Students

: existing or happening before in time or place : previous
  • the preceding week

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