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UK [bɪˈfɔː(r)] / US [bɪˈfɔr] adverb, conjunction, preposition

Before can be used in the following ways: - as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): Think carefully before you choose. - as a preposition (followed by a noun): We moved to London before the war. - as an adverb (without a following noun): I'd met him once before.
1) earlier than something
a) earlier than a particular time, event, or action

I went for a run before breakfast.

The others had got there before us.

Won't you have another drink before you go?

I joined the police in 1999. Before that I was in the army.

Two weeks before the election the first reports of the scandal began to appear.

before doing something:

You should seek legal advice before signing anything.

b) at a time in the past

Haven't we met before somewhere?

Never before in modern history has one nation dominated the world so completely.

c) used for saying how much time passes until something happens

Several years went by before I realized that David had lied to me.

2) when something is prevented used for saying that something happens which prevents someone from doing what they intended

Before I could think of a reply she walked away.

3) spoken used in warnings or threats used for warning someone that something bad may happen unless they do something

Clean up that mess before your father sees it.

You'd better go away before I lose my temper.

4) for someone to consider or watch
a) formal used for saying that something or someone is judged or considered by a group of people

The case went before a grand jury on December 17th.

The question before us is whether we should allow a foreign government to control our commerce.

b) formal used for saying that something is happening where people can watch it

The team scored an impressive victory before 76,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium.

5) in front of or earlier than someonesomething
a) if one place is before another place on your journey, you come to it first

A few miles before the border we were stopped at an army checkpoint.

Our house is just before you get to the end of the road.

b) formal in front of someone or something

Lawrence knelt before the king.

Before the temple gate stood a bronze statue of Buddha.

c) used for saying that something is placed earlier than something else in a list or series

The names are in alphabetical order, so "Barnes" should come before "Brown".

6) formal in the future used when saying what will happen in someone's future

A promising career stretched out before him.

You're still young – you have your whole life before you.

the day/week/weekend etc before — the previous day/week/weekend etc

She mentioned a TV programme she'd seen the night before.

the day before yesterday/the week before last etc — two days/weeks etc ago

Curry joined the team the season before last.


English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Before — Be*fore , prep. [OE. beforen, biforen, before, AS. beforan; pref. be + foran, fore, before. See {Be }, and {Fore}.] 1. In front of; preceding in space; ahead of; as, to stand before the fire; before the house. [1913 Webster] His angel, who shall… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Before — «Before» Сингл Pet Shop Boys из альбома Bilingual Выпущен 22 апреля, 1996 года Формат CD Записан 1995 Жанр Электро …   Википедия

  • before — [bē fôr′, bifôr′] adv. [ME biforen < OE beforan < be , BY + foran,FORE] 1. in advance; in front; ahead 2. in the past; previously [I ve heard that song before] 3. at an earlier time; sooner [come at ten, not before] prep …   English World dictionary

  • before — before, ahead, forward are comparable when they mean in advance, especially in place or in time. Before is more commonly used in reference to time than to place. Its most frequent implication is previousness or priority {I have heard that before} …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Before — Be*fore , adv. 1. On the fore part; in front, or in the direction of the front; opposed to {in the rear}. [1913 Webster] The battle was before and behind. 2 Chron. xiii. 14. [1913 Webster] 2. In advance. I come before to tell you. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • before — be·fore prep 1: in the presence of then personally appeared before me 2: to be judged or acted on by a case before the court a bill coming up before Congress Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 19 …   Law dictionary

  • Before Me — Studioalbum von Gladys Knight Veröffentlichung 2006 Label Verve …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • before — O.E. beforan before, in front of, in the presence of, in former times, from P.Gmc. *bi by + *forana from the front, adverbial derivative of *fora (see FOR (Cf. for)). Cf. O.Fris. bifara, O.S. biforan, O.H.G. bifora, Ger. bevor. Contrasting …   Etymology dictionary

  • before — [adv] earlier afore, aforetime, ahead, ante, antecedently, anteriorly, back, before present, ere, fore, former, formerly, forward, gone, gone by, heretofore, in advance, in days of yore, in front, in old days, in the past, past, precendently,… …   New thesaurus

  • before — ► PREPOSITION , CONJUNCTION , & ADVERB 1) during the period of time preceding. 2) in front of. 3) in preference to; rather than. ORIGIN Old English, from BY(Cf. ↑by) + FORE(Cf. ↑fore) …   English terms dictionary

  • before — be|fore1 W1S1 [bıˈfo: US ˈfo:r] conj 1.) earlier than a particular event or action ≠ ↑after ▪ Say goodbye before you go. ▪ I saw her a few days before she died. see usage note ↑ago 2.) so that something does not or cannot happen ▪ Put that money… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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