be·fore /bɪˈfor, ˈfɔr/
1. In front of; preceding in space; ahead of; as, to stand before the fire; before the house.
His angel, who shall go
Before them in a cloud and pillar of fire. --Milton.
2. Preceding in time; earlier than; previously to; anterior to the time when; -- sometimes with the additional idea of purpose; in order that.
Before Abraham was, I am. --John viii. 58.
Before this treatise can become of use, two points are necessary. --Swift.
Note: ☞ Formerly before, in this sense, was followed by that. “Before that Philip called thee . . . I saw thee.”
3. An advance of; farther onward, in place or time.
The golden age . . . is before us. --Carlyle.
4. Prior or preceding in dignity, order, rank, right, or worth; rather than.
He that cometh after me is preferred before me. --John i. 15.
The eldest son is before the younger in succession. --Johnson.
5. In presence or sight of; face to face with; facing.
Abraham bowed down himself before the people. --Gen. xxiii. 12.
Wherewith shall I come before the Lord? --Micah vi. 6.
6. Under the cognizance or jurisdiction of.
If a suit be begun before an archdeacon. --Ayliffe.
7. Open for; free of access to; in the power of.
The world was all before them where to choose. --Milton.
Before the mast Naut., as a common sailor, -- because the sailors live in the forecastle, forward of the foremast.
Before the wind Naut., in the direction of the wind and by its impulse; having the wind aft.
1. On the fore part; in front, or in the direction of the front; -- opposed to in the rear.
The battle was before and behind. --2 Chron. xiii. 14.
2. In advance. “I come before to tell you.”
3. In time past; previously; already.
You tell me, mother, what I knew before. --Dryden.
4. Earlier; sooner than; until then.
When the butt is out, we will drink water; not a drop before. --Shak.
Note: ☞ Before is often used in self-explaining compounds; as, before-cited, before-mentioned; beforesaid.
adv 1: earlier in time; previously; "I had known her before"; "as I
said before"; "he called me the day before but your
call had come even earlier"; "her parents had died
four years earlier"; "I mentioned that problem
earlier" [syn: earlier]
2: at or in the front; "I see the lights of a town ahead"; "the
road ahead is foggy"; "staring straight ahead"; "we
couldn't see over the heads of the people in front"; "with
the cross of Jesus marching on before" [syn: ahead, in