[bih-fawr-hand, -fohr-]

adverb, adjective

in anticipation; in advance; ahead of time: We should have made reservations beforehand. I hope to be beforehand with my report.

Origin of beforehand

First recorded in 1175–1225, beforehand is from the Middle English word bifor-hand. See before, hand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for before-hand

Historical Examples of before-hand

  • I didn't mean to let any one see it before-hand, but you are a dear old thing, and you shall.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • He shows all to Forster before-hand, and consults him as to plot, characters, etc.

    John Forster

    Percy Hethrington Fitzgerald

  • Nor can you get before-hand of the Constitution, and do it by anticipation.

  • I desire the world then to let it pass; for, to tell them a truth—you have paid me for it before-hand.


    E. (Eliza) Fenwick

  • Only He would warn Eli before-hand, for the old priest was His servant.

British Dictionary definitions for before-hand


adjective, adverb (postpositive)

early; in advance; in anticipationshe came an hour beforehand
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 before-hand


adv., adj.

also before-hand, early 13c., from before + hand, which here is of uncertain signification, unless the original notion is payment in advance or something done before another's hand does it. Hyphenated from 18c., one word from 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper