previous to; earlier or sooner than: Phone me before noon.
in front of; ahead of; in advance of: his shadow advancing before him;She stood before the window.
ahead of; in the future of; awaiting: The golden age is before us.
in preference to; rather than: They would die before surrendering.
in precedence of, as in order or rank: We put freedom before wealth.
in the presence or sight of: to appear before an audience.
less than; until: used in indicating the exact time: It's ten before three.
under the jurisdiction or consideration of: He was summoned before a magistrate.
confronted by; in the face of: Before such wild accusations, he was too stunned to reply.
in the regard of: a crime before God and humanity.
under the overwhelming influence of: bending before the storm.
without figuring or deducting: income before deductions.
earlier or sooner: Begin at noon, not before.
previous to the time when: Send the telegram before we go.
sooner than; rather than: I will die before I submit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use before in a sentence
before anti-vaxxers, there were anti-fluoriders: a group who spread fear about the anti-tooth decay agent added to drinking water.
In secret, before the referendum, the council went ahead and fluoridated the water anyway.
Just the hard-on before you shoot unarmed members of the public.'Babylon' Review: The Dumb Lives of Trigger-Happy Cops | Melissa Leon | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Was there an investigation of people at DOJ before they arrived at that conclusion?Ex-CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s Battle Royale With the Feds | Lloyd Grove | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Between 25 and 30, you’re trying to decide how much longer before you start growing a beard and calling yourself ‘Daddy.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic | Samantha Allen | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
And he was gone, and out of sight on the swift galloping Benito, before Father Gaspara bethought himself.Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
Descending the Alps to the east or south into Piedmont, a new world lies around and before you.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
before Ripperda could unclasp his lips to reply, the stranger had opened the door, and passed through it like a gliding shadow.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4 | Jane Porter
Louis stood firm, though pale and respectful, before the resentful gaze of Elizabeth.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4 | Jane Porter
Babylas raised his pale face; he knew what was coming; it had come so many times before.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for before
earlier than the time when
rather than: he'll resign before he agrees to it
preceding in space or time; in front of; ahead of: standing before the altar
when confronted by: to withdraw before one's enemies
in the presence of: to be brought before a judge
in preference to: to put friendship before money
at an earlier time; previously; beforehand; in front
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with before
In addition to the idioms beginning with before
- before long
- before the wind
- before you can say Jack Robinson
- before you know it
- cart before the horse
- cast pearls before swine
- look before you leap
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.