Synonym Chooser

How is the word anterior distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of anterior are antecedent, foregoing, former, preceding, previous, and prior. While all these words mean "being before," anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order.

the anterior lobe of the brain

When might antecedent be a better fit than anterior?

The synonyms antecedent and anterior are sometimes interchangeable, but antecedent applies to order in time and may suggest a causal relation.

conditions antecedent to the revolution

When could foregoing be used to replace anterior?

The words foregoing and anterior are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, foregoing applies chiefly to statements.

the foregoing remarks

When can former be used instead of anterior?

The meanings of former and anterior largely overlap; however, former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter.

the former name of the company

In what contexts can preceding take the place of anterior?

While in some cases nearly identical to anterior, preceding usually implies being immediately before in time or in place.

the preceding sentence

How do previous and prior relate to one another, in the sense of anterior?

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 anterior

Cite this Entry

“Anterior.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on anterior

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!