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[an-teer-ee-er] /ænˈtɪər i ər/
situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to posterior).
going before in time or sequence; preceding; earlier:
events anterior to the outbreak of war.
Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) articulated in the region extending from the alveolar ridge to the lips; alveolar, dental, or labial.
(in animals and embryos) pertaining to or toward the head or forward end of the body.
(in humans) pertaining to or toward the front plane of the body, equivalent to the ventral surface of quadrupeds.
Botany. on the front side and away from the main axis, as the lower lip of a flower.
Origin of anterior
1535-45; < Latin, comparative of ante before, formed on model of posterior
Related forms
[an-teer-ee-awr-i-tee, -or-] /ænˌtɪər iˈɔr ɪ ti, -ˈɒr-/ (Show IPA),
anteriorly, adverb
nonanterior, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for anteriority
Historical Examples
  • A simple physical mechanism may be a priori, in the sense of anteriority.

    The Mind and the Brain

    Alfred Binet
  • We should here draw a distinction between the two senses of the a priori: anteriority and superiority.

    The Mind and the Brain

    Alfred Binet
  • The ogive is, perhaps, very ancient; and authors dispute as to the anteriority of the Romanesque to the Gothic.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet Gustave Flaubert
  • This anteriority of nature is a commonplace in philosophy: thus one says that the decrees of God have an order among themselves.

    Theodicy G. W. Leibniz
  • On the other hand, anteriority and posteriority exist in dimension as well as in numbers.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 Plotinos (Plotinus)
British Dictionary definitions for anteriority


situated at or towards the front
earlier in time
(zoology) of or near the head end
(botany) (of part of a flower or leaf) situated farthest away from the main stem
Compare posterior
Derived Forms
anteriority (ænˌtɪərɪˈɒrɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, comparative of ante before
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anteriority



1610s, Latin, literally "former," comparative of ante "before" (see ante). Related: Anteriority.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anteriority in Medicine

anterior an·te·ri·or (ān-tēr'ē-ər)

  1. Placed before or in front.

  2. Occurring before in time; earlier.

  3. Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another; ventral.

  4. Near the head or rostral end of certain embryos.

The front surface of the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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