adjective pre·ced·ing \pri-ˈsē-diŋ\

Definition of preceding

  1. :  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 Hitchens, New York Times Book Review, 18 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 Egan, New York Times, 20 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 Jefferson, letter, 4 Sept. 1823

  4. The preceding week he had been on vacation.

  5. had not eaten since the preceding day

Origin and Etymology of preceding

see precede

First Known Use: 15th century

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


adjective pre·ced·ing \pri-ˈsē-diŋ\

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

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

Seen and Heard

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


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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