AskDefine | Define before

Dictionary Definition

before adv
1 earlier in time; previously; "I had known her before"; "as I said before"; "he called me the day before but your call had come even earlier"; "her parents had died four years earlier"; "I mentioned that problem earlier" [syn: earlier]
2 at or in the front; "I see the lights of a town ahead"; "the road ahead is foggy"; "staring straight ahead"; "we couldn't see over the heads of the people in front"; "with the cross of Jesus marching on before" [syn: ahead, in front]

User Contributed Dictionary





  • a RP , /bɪˈfɔː/, /bI"fO:
  • a US , /biˈfoʊr/|/bɪˈfɔːr/, /bi"foUr/|/bI"fO:r/
  • Rhymes with: -ɔː(r)


  1. Earlier than (in time).
    I want this done before Monday.
  2. In front of in space.
    He stood before me.
  3. In front of, according to system of ordering items.
    In alphabetical order, "cat" comes before "dog".


  • (earlier than in time): by, no later than
  • (in front of in space): ahead of, in front of
  • (in front of according to an ordering system): ahead of


  • (earlier than in time): after, later than
  • (in front of in space): behind
  • (in front of according to an ordering system): after


earlier than in time
in front of in space
in front of according to an ordering system


  1. at an earlier time
    I've never done this before.
  2. in advance



at an earlier time
in advance

Derived terms

Related terms


  1. in advance of the time when
  2. rather or sooner than



in advance of the time when
rather or sooner than

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

above, aforetime, ahead, ahead of time, already, ante, before all, before now, beforehand, beforetime, betimes, by choice, by election, by vote, confronting, earlier, early, ere, ere then, erenow, erewhile, erst, erstwhile, facing, first, fore, foremost, foresightedly, formerly, forward, headmost, hereinabove, hereinbefore, heretofore, historically, hitherto, in advance, in advance of, in anticipation, in anticipation of, in front, in front of, in preference, in preference to, in preparation for, in the forefront, in the foreground, in the front, in the future, in the lead, in the past, in times past, once, only yesterday, or ever, preceding, precociously, preferably, prehistorically, previous, previous to, previously, prior to, priorly, rather, rather than, recently, sooner, sooner than, supra, then, theretofore, till, to, to come, to the fore, to the front, until, up ahead, up to, whilom, yesterday, yet
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