[ pri-see-ding ]
/ prɪˈsi dɪŋ /
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that precedes; previous: Refer back to the footnote on the preceding page.
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Origin of preceding

First recorded in 1485–95; precede + -ing2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does preceding mean?

Preceding means coming before. A close synonym is previous.

As an adjective, preceding is always used before a noun, as in the preceding chapter. 

Preceding can also be used as the continuous tense (-ing form) of the verb precede, which means to come before.

In most cases, the opposite of preceding is following, meaning coming after. For example, if you’re reading Chapter 7, the preceding chapter is Chapter 6, and the following chapter is Chapter 8.

Example: The seventh book in the series features many of the same characters as the six preceding novels.

Where does preceding come from?

The first records of the word preceding as an adjective come from the late 1400s. Its base word, the verb precede, comes from the Latin praecēdere, meaning “to go before,” from prae-, “before,” and cēdere, “to move.”

When something is described as preceding, it is usually being discussed in reference to what follows or has followed it. Preceding is most commonly applied to things in a series. The word previous means the same thing, but it’s used more broadly—you’re more likely to say the previous year or the previous meeting than the preceding year or the preceding meeting.

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What are some other forms related to preceding?

What are some synonyms for preceding?

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What are some words that often get used in discussing preceding?


What are some words preceding may be commonly confused with?



How is preceding used in real life?

Preceding is commonly used to describe the previous item in a series or succession.



Try using preceding!

Is preceding used correctly in the following sentence?

We earned more in April than in the three preceding months.

How to use preceding in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for preceding

/ (prɪˈsiːdɪŋ) /

(prenominal) going or coming before; former
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