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Synonym Chooser

How is the word antecedent distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of antecedent are anterior, foregoing, former, preceding, previous, and prior. While all these words mean "being before," antecedent applies to order in time and may suggest a causal relation.

conditions antecedent to the revolution

When can anterior be used instead of antecedent?

While the synonyms anterior and antecedent are close in meaning, anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order.

the anterior lobe of the brain

In what contexts can foregoing take the place of antecedent?

The words foregoing and antecedent can be used in similar contexts, but foregoing applies chiefly to statements.

the foregoing remarks

Where would former be a reasonable alternative to antecedent?

The words former and antecedent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter.

the former name of the company

When might preceding be a better fit than antecedent?

The synonyms preceding and antecedent are sometimes interchangeable, but preceding usually implies being immediately before in time or in place.

the preceding sentence

How are the words previous and prior related as synonyms of antecedent?

Both 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

Thesaurus Entries Near antecedent

Cite this Entry

“Antecedent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

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