before

[ bih-fawr, -fohr ]
/ bɪˈfɔr, -ˈfoʊr /

preposition

adverb

conjunction

previous to the time when: Send the telegram before we go.
sooner than; rather than: I will die before I submit.

Origin of before

before 1000; Middle English beforen, Old English beforan, equivalent to be by1 + foran before (fore fore1 + -an adv. suffix)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for before

British Dictionary definitions for before

before

/ (bɪˈfɔː) /

conjunction (subordinating)

earlier than the time when
rather thanhe'll resign before he agrees to it

preposition

adverb

at an earlier time; previously; beforehand; in front

Word Origin for before

Old English beforan; related to Old Frisian befara, Old High German bifora
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

Idioms and Phrases with before

before

In addition to the idioms beginning with before

  • before long
  • before the wind
  • before you can say Jack Robinson
  • before you know it

also see:

  • 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.