- The definition of before is something that happened before another thing, or something that was in front of or before another.
- An example of before is the person in front of you in line.
- An example of before is when you have an appointment set for 2:00 and you first go get your hair done.
- Before is defined as a previous time.
An example of before is when you are asked to do something prior to 7:00 PM.
This woman stands before the others in line.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- in advance; in front; ahead
- in the past; previously: I've heard that song before
- at an earlier time; sooner: come at ten, not before
Origin: Middle English biforen ; from Old English beforan ; from be-, by plush foran, fore
- ahead of in time, space, order, rank, or importance
- located just to the front of: he paused before the door
- in or into the sight, notice, presence, etc. of: a thought flashed before her mind; he stood before his accuser
- being considered, judged, or decided by: the matter before the committee
- earlier than; prior to: he left before noon
- still to be reached, accomplished, etc. by: the hardest task was before them
- in preference to; rather than: to choose death before dishonor
- earlier than the time that: drop in before you go
- sooner than; rather than: I'd die before I'd tell
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Earlier in time: They called me the day before.
- In front; ahead.
- Previous to in time; earlier than.
- In front of.
- In store for; awaiting: The young man's whole life lies before him.
- Into or in the presence of: She asked that the visitor be brought before her.
- Under the consideration or jurisdiction of: The case is now before the court.
- In a position superior to: The prince is before his brother in the line of succession.
- In advance of the time when: See me before you leave.
- Rather than; sooner than: I will die before I will betray my country.
Origin: Middle English bifore, from Old English beforan; see per1 in Indo-European roots.