Before



previous to; earlier or sooner than:
Phone me before noon.
in front of; ahead of; in advance of:
his shadow advancing before him; She stood before the window.
ahead of; in the future of; awaiting:
The golden age is before us.
in preference to; rather than:
They would die before surrendering.
in precedence of, as in order or rank:
We put freedom before wealth.
in the presence or sight of: to appear before an audience.
less than; until: used in indicating the exact time:
It’s ten before three.
under the jurisdiction or consideration of:
He was summoned before a magistrate.
confronted by; in the face of:
Before such wild accusations, he was too stunned to reply.
in the regard of:
a crime before God and humanity.
under the overwhelming influence of:
bending before the storm.
without figuring or deducting:
income before deductions.
in front; in advance; ahead:
The king entered with macebearers walking before.
in time preceding; previously:
If we’d known before, we’d have let you know.
earlier or sooner:
Begin at noon, not before.
previous to the time when:
Send the telegram before we go.
sooner than; rather than:
I will die before I submit.
Contemporary Examples

When she was rescued she weighed only 97 pounds, down from 135 pounds before.
The Devil’s Drug: The True Story of Meth in New Mexico Nick Romeo August 23, 2013

The film had premiered at Cannes in May 2001, almost a decade after Somalia, three months before nine eleven and everything after.
“It’s Too Soon”: Black Hawk Down 20 Years Later Lea Carpenter October 2, 2013

Dozens of women were interviewed, but it took a while before they found the right candidate.
Juiciest Bits From Vanity Fair’s Tom Cruise Exposé September 4, 2012

But this was 2003, the beginning of Generation Me, and just a year before Facebook launched.
Paris Hilton: End of an Era? Tricia Romano August 25, 2011

CPCR, which had been compiling evidence against him since 2006, before his exact location was known, filed official suit in 2009.
France Convicts Rwanda Genocidaire Nina Strochlic March 13, 2014

Historical Examples

His thoughts now leaped to the end as blindly as they had shrunk from it before.
Audrey Craven May Sinclair

But before you start to read let me explain what I intend to do.
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon

Not life then without the food, or before the food, but by the food.
Journal of a Residence at Bagdad Anthony Groves

You have seen the Greek word “phone,” which means the voice, before.
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon

I don’t want to lose my job, not yet, before I’ve seen half the Fair.’
Against Odds Lawrence L. Lynch

conjunction (subordinating)
earlier than the time when
rather than: he’ll resign before he agrees to it
preposition
preceding in space or time; in front of; ahead of: standing before the altar
when confronted by: to withdraw before one’s enemies
in the presence of: to be brought before a judge
in preference to: to put friendship before money
adverb
at an earlier time; previously; beforehand; in front
adv., prep.

Old English beforan “before, in front of, in the presence of, in former times,” from Proto-Germanic *bi- “by” + *forana “from the front,” adverbial derivative of *fora (see for). Cf. Old Frisian bifara, Old Saxon biforan, Old High German bifora, German bevor. Contrasting before and after in illustrations is from Hogarth (1768). Before the mast in old sailing ships denoting “common sailor,” is from the place of their berths, in front of the fore-mast.

before long
before the wind
before you can say Jack Robinson
before you know it

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    something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth. something said to be true or supposed to have […]

  • Before long

    having considerable linear extent in space: a long distance; a long handle. having considerable duration in time: a long conversation; a long while. extending, lasting, or totaling a number of specified units: eight miles long; eight hours long. containing many items or units: a long list. requiring a considerable time to relate, read, etc.: a […]



  • Before the present

    See B.P (def 4). Bachelor of Pharmacy. Bachelor of Philosophy. Finance. basis point. Archaeology. before the present: (in radiocarbon dating) in a specified amount of time or at a specified point in time before a.d. 1950: between 2 and 3 million years b.p.; human groups living in cities by 5000 b.p. Commerce. bills payable.

  • Before present

    See B.P (def 4). Bachelor of Pharmacy. Bachelor of Philosophy. Finance. basis point. Archaeology. before the present: (in radiocarbon dating) in a specified amount of time or at a specified point in time before a.d. 1950: between 2 and 3 million years b.p.; human groups living in cities by 5000 b.p. Commerce. bills payable.



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