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before

Line breaks: be¦fore
Pronunciation: /bɪˈfɔː
 
/

Definition of before in English:

preposition, conjunction, & adverb

1During the period of time preceding (a particular event or time): [as preposition]: she had to rest before dinner the day before yesterday [as conjunction]: they lived rough for four days before they were arrested [as adverb]: his playing days had ended six years before it’s never happened to me before
More example sentences
  • We recently talked about what was going to happen in the period just before my death.
  • Again, this was more than three times the figure for the same period the year before.
  • It took a minute for him to realize where he was and remember the events of the night before.
Synonyms
prior to, previous to, earlier than, preparatory to, in preparation for, preliminary to, in anticipation of, in expectation of;
previously, before now, before then, until now, until then, up to now, up to then;
earlier, formerly, hitherto, in the past, in days gone by
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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
Synonyms
in preference to, rather than, sooner than, above, over, instead of

Origin

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

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