Definition of before in English:


Line breaks: be¦fore
Pronunciation: /bɪˈfɔː

preposition , conjunction , & adverb

  • 2In front of: [as preposition]: Matilda stood before her, panting [as adverb]: archaic trotting through the city with guards running before and behind
    More example sentences
    • The young man passes through the light, and is in a garden, standing before the gate.
    • You should have seen the look on her face when I stood before her door with my luggage in my hand.
    • I looked up and turned to the side to see a rather nice looking woman standing before me.
  • 2.1 [preposition] In front of and required to answer to (a court of law, tribunal, or other authority): he could be taken before a magistrate for punishment
    More example sentences
    • Eight days later she was up before the same court to admit committing two further thefts.
    • Sarah has a solicitor in Israel and plans to put the case before the court as soon as possible.
    • In it he seeks an order that his clients' appeal be heard afresh before a new court.
    in front of, in the presence of, in the sight of; before the very eyes of, under the nose of
  • 3In preference to; rather than: [as preposition]: a woman who placed duty before all else [as conjunction]: they would die before they would cooperate with each other
    More example sentences
    • I would die before helping you destroy the human race," he said.
    • While Michael was fiercely loyal in his professional and personal relationships, he had a ruthless streak and was prepared to put his career before all else.
    • My dream is to be a great chef, and I put that before all things
    in preference to, rather than, sooner than, above, over, instead of


Old English beforan (see by, fore), of Germanic origin; related to German bevor.

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