before /bɪˈfɔː/


I. preposition, conjunction, adverb

1. during the period of time preceding (a particular event or time)

[as prep.]

she had to rest before dinner
the day before yesterday
[as conjunction]
they lived rough for four days before they were arrested
[as adv.]
his playing days had ended six years before
it’s never happened to me before.
2. in front of

[as prep.]

Matilda stood before her, panting

‹archaic› trotting through the city with guards running before and behind.

3. [ prep.] in front of and required to answer to (a court of law, tribunal, or other authority)

he could be taken before a magistrate for punishment.
4. in preference to; rather than

[as prep.]

a woman who placed duty before all else
[as conjunction]
they would die before they would cooperate with each other.
– origin Old English beforan (see by, fore), of Germanic origin; related to German bevor.

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