situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to ).
going before in time or sequence; preceding; earlier:
events anterior to the outbreak of war.
Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) articulated in the region extending from the alveolar ridge to the lips; alveolar, dental, or labial.
(in animals and embryos) pertaining to or toward the head or forward end of the body.
(in humans) pertaining to or toward the front plane of the body, equivalent to the ventral surface of quadrupeds.
Botany. on the front side and away from the main axis, as the lower lip of a flower.
Contemporary Examples

That action puts a stress in the anterior cruciate ligament.
Down With Downhill Skiing! Bryan Curtis February 15, 2010

Historical Examples

Note on one side, beginning at the anterior end, the buccal groove leading into the interior through the gullet.
Elementary Zoology, Second Edition Vernon L. Kellogg

He makes use of the anterior one, which is the longest and most supple.
The Industries of Animals Frdric Houssay

Their vulnerable points are the attachment of the anterior limbs, and, of course, the eyes.
The Desert World Arthur Mangin

Aorta: the anterior, narrow part of the heart, opening into the head.
Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology John. B. Smith

It may to some minds be a desideratum, to allude to the anterior probability that God should come in the flesh.
The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper Martin Farquhar Tupper

Frontal: referring to the front of head or anterior aspect of any part.
Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology John. B. Smith

Within these was another perfect stamen occupying the position of the anterior stamen of the inner series (a 3).
Vegetable Teratology Maxwell T. Masters

It is just cephalad to the anterior end of the pharynx and to the hypophysis.
Development of the Digestive Canal of the American Alligator Albert M. Reese

anterior wings, in the middle, having a large oval, and another smaller oblong white spot at the tips.
Illustrations of Exotic Entomology, Volume 1 Dru Drury

situated at or towards the front
earlier in time
(zoology) of or near the head end
(botany) (of part of a flower or leaf) situated farthest away from the main stem

1610s, Latin, literally “former,” comparative of ante “before” (see ante). Related: Anteriority.

anterior an·te·ri·or (ān-tēr’ē-ər)

Placed before or in front.

Occurring before in time; earlier.

Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another; ventral.

Near the head or rostral end of certain embryos.

The front surface of the body.


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  • Anterior auricular nerve

    anterior auricular nerve anterior auricular nerve n. Any of branches of the auriculotemporal nerve that supply the tragus and the upper part of the auricle of the ear.

  • Anterior auricular vein

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