Definition of antecedent in English:

antecedent

Syllabification: an·te·ced·ent
Pronunciation: /ˌantəˈsēdnt
 
/

noun

  • 1A thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another: some antecedents to the African novel might exist in Africa’s oral traditions
    More example sentences
    • It traces the historical antecedents to freed people's intense desire to become literate and demonstrates how the visions of enslaved African Americans emerged into plans and action once slavery ended.
    • There are literary and historical antecedents to this book, too.
    • Pundits have searched for literary antecedents to this creature.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1 (antecedents) A person’s ancestors or family and social background: her early life and antecedents have been traced
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    • The powerful Colonna family, whose antecedents included Pope Martin V, had become titular rulers of Caravaggio's native Duchy of Milan, and showed a solicitous concern for his welfare on several occasions.
    • Way back when old India included Pakistan there was a family called Ramsinghani with antecedents in Lahore and Karachi and since the British could not pronounce their name properly the alternative Ramsay was adopted.
    • And there are several new independents whose backgrounds and antecedents will surely make them amenable to a little persuasion.
    Synonyms
  • 1.2 Grammar A word, phrase, clause, or sentence to which another word (especially a following relative pronoun) refers.
    More example sentences
    • Plural pronouns with nominally singular antecedents like ‘everyone’ have been a major battlefield in the grammar wars.
    • Because they are free of antecedents, such clauses are sometimes called independent or free relative clauses.
    • He thinks the word ‘everyone’ is singular, so it can't be the antecedent of a third person plural pronoun like ‘they’ or ‘their’.
  • 1.3 Logic The statement contained in the “if” clause of a conditional proposition.
    More example sentences
    • Obedience to a hypothetical imperative is always obedience to the condition expressed in its antecedent.
    • If the antecedent of a conditional is false, the statement is always true!
    • ‘If lying is wrong, then he will lie,’ has an antecedent whose embedded content is the same as a statement predicating the property on which the speakers moral disapproval supervenes.
  • 1.4 Mathematics The first term in a ratio.
    More example sentences
    • When there is but one antecedent and one consequent, the ratio is called a simple ratio.
    • Alternate ratio means taking the antecedent in relation to the antecedent and the consequent in relation to the consequent.

adjective

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  • 1Preceding in time or order; previous or preexisting: the antecedent events that prompt you to break a diet
    More example sentences
    • Hawthorne's text is studiously inscrutable about events antecedent to Hester's being branded adulteress.
    • Behaviors are directed by the antecedent stimuli that preceded them and announce the availability of a positive or negative consequence.
    • And much will depend, in this case, on all of the conditions antecedent to the initiation of combat.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1Denoting a grammatical antecedent.
    More example sentences
    • There seem to be two changes: a loosening of the link backward to an antecedent noun phrase, and a loosening of the link forward to a modified noun phrase.
    • The phenomenon is particularly interesting because the conditions under which complement anaphora (as this case of anaphora is called) is acceptable depend on formal properties of the antecedent determiner.
    • What I mean is that if we look at the antecedent clause of the conditional, then it is empty - there is nothing that it corresponds to!

Derivatives

antecedence

noun
More example sentences
  • Now Afro-Americans, frustrated in their search for antecedence in their African line, might turn to their Scottish roots.
  • Unlike surrounding leaves, these pages - heavily edited, faded, some with frayed edges - were typed with a black ribbon, a telltale sign of antecedence.
  • This has a long antecedence, and the book reviews some of the historical and theoretical literature on the nature of law, including some Marxist sources.

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French or from Latin antecedent- 'going before', from antecedere, from ante 'before' + cedere 'go'.

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