preposition, conjunction

Origin of ere

before 900; Middle English; Old English ǣr, ēr (cognate with German ehr), comparative of ār soon, early; cognate with Gothic air. See erst, early
Can be confusedair e'er ere err heir Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ere

before, prior, rather

Examples from the Web for ere

Contemporary Examples of ere

Historical Examples of ere

  • “We must call Kit into counsel, ere we can do that fully,” said Stephen.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • But just ere the silent became unendurable, a thought appeared in the void.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Ere the door was opened Hester had got down and stood waiting.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • The boy was sickly: he might be taken from him ere he had made any true acquaintance with him!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • But ere she was six slow steps away, she turned at a cry from her mother.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for ere


conjunction, preposition

a poetic word for before

Word Origin for ere

Old English ǣr; related to Old Norse ār early, Gothic airis earlier, Old High German ēr earlier, Greek eri early
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 ere

c.1200, from Old English ær (adv., conj., & prep.) "soon, before (in time)," from Proto-Germanic *airiz, comparative of *air "early" (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German er, Dutch eer; German eher "earlier;" Old Norse ar "early;" Gothic air "early," airis "earlier"), from PIE *ayer- "day, morning" (cf. Avestan ayar "day;" Greek eerios "at daybreak," ariston "breakfast"). The adverb erstwhile retains the Old English superlative ærest "earliest."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper