before Meaning, Definition & Usage
adverb 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
adverb at or in the front
in front; ahead.
- 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
, AS. beforan
; pref. be-
, before. See Be-
, and Fore
- In front of; preceding in space; ahead of; as, to stand before the fire; before the house.
His angel, who shall go
Before them in a cloud and pillar of fire.
- Preceding in time; earlier than; previously to; anterior to the time when; -- sometimes with the additional idea of purpose; in order that.
Before Abraham was, I am.
John viii. 58.
Before this treatise can become of use, two points are necessary.
✍ Formerly before, in this sense, was followed by that. "Before that Philip called thee . . . I saw thee."
John i. 48.
- An advance of; farther onward, in place or time.
The golden age . . . is before us.
- Prior or preceding in dignity, order, rank, right, or worth; rather than.
He that cometh after me is preferred before me.
John i. 15.
The eldest son is before the younger in succession.
- In presence or sight of; face to face with; facing.
Abraham bowed down himself before the people.
Gen. xxiii. 12.
Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?
Micah vi. 6.
- Under the cognizance or jurisdiction of.
If a suit be begun before an archdeacon.
- Open for; free of access to; in the power of.
The world was all before them where to choose.
- On the fore part; in front, or in the direction of the front; -- opposed to in the rear.
The battle was before and behind.
2 Chron. xiii. 14.
- In advance. "I come before to tell you."
- In time past; previously; already.
You tell me, mother, what I knew before.
- Earlier; sooner than; until then.
When the butt is out, we will drink water; not a drop before.
✍ Before is often used in self-explaining compounds; as, before-cited, before-mentioned; beforesaid.
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