Definition of before by Wiktionary Dictionary
- ( RP ) enPR: bĭfô', IPA: /bɪˈfɔː/, X-SAMPA: /bI"fO:/
- ( US ) enPR: bĭfôr', IPA: /bɪˈfɔːr/, /bəˈfɔːr/, X-SAMPA: /bi"fO:r/
- Hyphenation: be‧fore
- Rhymes: -ɔː( r )
- Earlier than ( in time ) .
- In front of in space .
- Under consideration, judgment, authority of ( someone ) .
- In store for, in the future of ( someone ) .
- In front of, according to a formal system of ordering items .
- At a higher or greater position in a subjective ranking .
Definition of before by Wordnet Dictionary
- I had known her before
- as I said before
- he called me the day before but your call had come even earlier
- Before prep. [OE. beforen, biforen, before, AS. beforan; pref. be- + foran, fore, before. See Be-, and Fore.]
1. 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. Milton.
2. 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. Swift.
☞ Formerly before, in this sense, was followed by that. “Before that Philip called thee . . . I saw thee.” John i. 48.
3. An advance of; farther onward, in place or time.
The golden age . . . is before us. Carlyle.
4. 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. Johnson.
5. 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.
6. Under the cognizance or jurisdiction of.
If a suit be begun before an archdeacon. Ayliffe.
7. Open for; free of access to; in the power of.
The world was all before them where to choose. Milton.
Before the mast ( Naut. ), as a common sailor, -- because the sailors live in the forecastle, forward of the foremast. -- Before the wind ( Naut. ), in the direction of the wind and by its impulse; having the wind aft.
- Before, adv.
1. 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.
2. In advance. “I come before to tell you.” Shak.
3. In time past; previously; already.
You tell me, mother, what I knew before. Dryden.
4. Earlier; sooner than; until then.
When the butt is out, we will drink water; not a drop before. Shak.
☞ Before is often used in self-explaining compounds; as, before-cited, before-mentioned; beforesaid.