Definition of ahead in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈhɛd/


1Further forward in space; in the line of one’s forward motion: the road ahead he was striding ahead towards the stream
More example sentences
  • ‘Come, we might as well start our journey as we talk,’ he said as he motioned towards the road ahead.
  • They're not moving, just gazing ahead toward the Japanese lines.
  • A passenger in his car, his son, said he had not been paying attention to the road ahead as they travelled towards their home.
forward(s), towards the front, frontwards;
onwards, on, forth
in front, at the head, in the lead, at the fore, to the fore, in the vanguard, in the van, in advance, at the head of the queue
1.1Further forward in time; in the near future: he contemplated the day ahead we have to plan ahead
More example sentences
  • What steps have been taken, and what's ahead in the near future?
  • Having just finished recording his debut album last week, Mike plans to learn more about music, take sound engineering courses and plan ahead for the future.
  • Mrs Gilligan, who with her husband and sons runs a thriving dairying farm, believes the new system will give farmers the freedom to plan ahead for the future.
in the future, in time, in time to come, in the fullness of time, at a later date, after this, henceforth, subsequently, later on, in due course, next, from now on, from this day/time on, from this day forth/forward
2In the lead: he was slightly ahead on points
More example sentences
  • Bootham Cons surged ahead to lead 8-1 but Holgate fought back to 10-10 after 11 ends.
  • Ecofin's day at the races… And they're coming up the back stretch now and it's Economic Recovery way ahead in the lead.
  • Quitting while he was ahead, Shaw led his last big band in 1950.
leading, winning, in the lead, (out) in front, to the fore, first, coming first
informal up front
3Higher in number, amount, or value than previously: profits were slightly ahead
More example sentences
  • Markets and share values were moving ahead anyway.
  • Trading at its hotels in the US had also improved with profits ahead 20% on the same period last year.
  • Analysts expect next year's half-year profits to nudge ahead to about £60m from £57m last time.



ahead of

In front of or before: she walked ahead of him along the corridor in qualifying he was fastest, ahead of teammate Prost
More example sentences
  • But they believed they were protected by a front line of fighters ahead of them.
  • Right after I got in front of the truck, there was another gap to allow me to move in front of the car ahead of me.
  • Spot fires broke out on the hills and ridges ahead of the main front, and quickly spread.
in front of, before
1.1In store for; awaiting: we have a long drive ahead of us
More example sentences
  • On holiday tomorrow with a long drive to Glasgow ahead of me and then trailing round Ikea.
  • With a long drive to Kilkee ahead of me that evening, I opt for starting at Bolus Head and taking it from there.
  • We could afford no such luxury, since it was now early afternoon and we had nearly another hour's drive ahead of us.
in store for, waiting for, in wait for
1.2Earlier than: elimination of trade barriers came five years ahead of schedule
More example sentences
  • BT says it will hand over co-location spaces for trial ahead of the original schedule.
  • Well done, you've come into form at the right time ahead of a busy summer schedule.
  • They were out on a training run ahead of a time trial that was to be the opening stage of the Tour of Germany.
in advance of, before, earlier than, prior to, previous to

ahead of time

In advance: being prepared with appropriate graphics ahead of time is a great policy
More example sentences
  • Could the Gulf of Mexico oil spill finally end weeks ahead of the time BP officials say they expect to end it?
  • One of the best ways to cook is to make foods ahead of time.
early, earlier than expected, earlier than required, in good time, with time to spare, timely, in advance, sooner, in readiness, already

ahead of one's (or its) time

Innovative and radical by the standards of the time: written at the end of the Fifties, it was a play ahead of its time
More example sentences
  • They heralded the trike as an innovation which was ahead of its time.
  • School Principal Mary English pointed out just how innovative and ahead of its time the Council was with its constitution.
  • It was a movie far ahead of its time and very different mind-fodder from most of the unmemorable gloss and dross that came out of Hollywood that year.
more advanced than, further on than, superior to, outdistancing, outstripping, surpassing, exceeding, better than, prevailing over
revolutionary, avant-garde, futuristic, innovatory, innovative, innovational, trailblazing, pioneering, groundbreaking, disruptive;
ultra-modern, advanced, highly developed, the latest, new, the newest, up to the minute

get ahead of oneself

Act or plan prematurely or overconfidently: I am getting ahead of myself; let’s return to the beginning
More example sentences
  • It's easy to get ahead of oneself in the evaluation process, judging things that are still under development to be final.
  • I was very impressed with the notion that is bought up in the book on page 77 that one should not try to get ahead of oneself in golf.


Mid 16th century (originally in nautical use): from a-2 'in, at' + head.

Words that rhyme with ahead

abed, bed, behead, Birkenhead, bled, bread, bred, coed, cred, crossbred, dead, dread, Ed, embed, Enzed, fed, fled, Fred, gainsaid, head, infrared, ked, lead, led, Med, misled, misread, Ned, outspread, premed, pure-bred, read, red, redd, said, samoyed, shed, shred, sked, sled, sped, Spithead, spread, stead, ted, thread, tread, underbred, underfed, wed

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ahead

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