• synonyms


or B.C.

before Christ (used in indicating dates).


The Curious Chronicle Of The Letter CRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.

Nearby words

b.arch., b.arch.e., b.b., b.b.a., b.b.c., b.c., b.c.e., b.c.l., b.c.p., b.c.s., b.cer.e.

Usage note

The abbreviation b.c. “before Christ” is always placed after a date or century: Cleopatra lived from 69 to 30 b.c. The war took place in the first century b.c. See also a.d.1

Definition for b.c. (2 of 3)


Bachelor of Chemistry.
Bachelor of Commerce.
bass clarinet.
battery commander.
British Columbia.

Definition for b.c. (3 of 3)


or B and C

Insurance. building and contents. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for b.c.


abbreviation of Before Christ, in chronology, attested by 1823. The phrase itself, Before Christ, in dating, with exact years, is in use by 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for b.c.


An abbreviation used with dates of events that took place before the birth of Jesus. b.c. stands for before Christ. (Compare a.d.; see b.c.e.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.