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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Ere prep. & adv.
 1. Before; sooner than. [Archaic or Poetic]
    Myself was stirring ere the break of day.   --Shak.
    Ere sails were spread new oceans to explore.   --Dryden.
    Sir, come down ere my child die.   --John iv. 49.
 2. Rather than.
    I will be thrown into Etna, . . . ere I will leave her.   --Shak.
 Ere long, before, shortly. --Shak.
 Ere now, formerly, heretofore. --Shak.
 Ere that, ∧ Or are. Same as Ere. --Shak.