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 formsan·te·ri·or·i·ty [an-teer-ee-awr-i-tee, -or-] /ænˌtɪər iˈɔr ɪ ti, -ˈɒr-/, nounan·te·ri·or·ly, adverbnon·an·te·ri·or, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for anterior

past, antecedent, precedent, former, foregoing, preceding, previous

Examples from the Web for anterior

Contemporary Examples of anterior

Historical Examples of anterior

British Dictionary definitions for anterior



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 Formsanteriority (ænˌtɪərɪˈɒrɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for anterior

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

Word Origin and History for anterior

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anterior in Medicine




Placed before or in front.
Occurring before in time; earlier.
Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another; ventral.
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.