"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[an-tuh-seed-nt] /ˌæn təˈsid nt/
preceding; prior:
an antecedent event.
a preceding circumstance, event, object, style, phenomenon, etc.
  1. ancestors.
  2. the history, events, characteristics, etc., of one's earlier life:
    Little is known about his birth and antecedents.
Grammar. a word, phrase, or clause, usually a substantive, that is replaced by a pronoun or other substitute later, or occasionally earlier, in the same or in another, usually subsequent, sentence. In Jane lost a glove and she can't find it, Jane is the antecedent of she and glove is the antecedent of it.
  1. the first term of a ratio; the first or third term of a proportion.
  2. the first of two vectors in a dyad.
Logic. the conditional element in a proposition, as “Caesar conquered Gaul,” in “If Caesar conquered Gaul, he was a great general.”.
Origin of antecedent
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin antecēdent- (stem of antecēdēns) going before, present participle of antecēdere to antecede; see -ent
Related forms
[an-tuh-see-den-tl] /ˌæn tə siˈdɛn tl/ (Show IPA),
antecedently, adverb
Can be confused
antecedence, antecedents.
1. precursory, preexistent. 2. precursor, forerunner, ancestor.
1. subsequent. 2. successor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for antecedent
  • It's fairly common to write a sequel, but not so common to write an antecedent.
  • Somewhat more thoughtful than its well-loved antecedent, this boldly drawn novel is no less commanding.
  • The only way to avoid a recession is to restrain the antecedent boom.
  • Also, the pronouns in the second sentence do not agree in number with their antecedent.
  • The opportunities for the poor are restricted not only by antecedent poverty but also by two types of structural faults.
  • Weber's mature stage works had no true antecedent.
  • It seems the antecedent and the precedent of your sentence are unrelated.
  • We don't have an antecedent to determine what the authors had in mind.
  • That's fine, too, except that the scene has no antecedent.
  • The recent restoration of parks has a historical antecedent in Hartford.
British Dictionary definitions for antecedent


an event, circumstance, etc, that happens before another
(grammar) a word or phrase to which a pronoun refers. In the sentence "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," people is the antecedent of who
(logic) the hypothetical clause, usually introduced by "if", in a conditional statement: that which implies the other
(maths) an obsolescent name for numerator (sense 1)
(logic) denying the antecedent, the fallacy of inferring the falsehood of the consequent of a conditional statement, given the truth of the conditional and the falsehood of its antecedent, as if there are five of them, there are more than four: there are not five, so there are not more than four
preceding in time or order; prior
See also antecedents
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for antecedent

late 14c. (n. and adj.), from Old French antecedent (14c.) or directly from Latin antecedentem (nominative antecedens), present participle of antecedere "go before, precede," from ante- "before" (see ante) + cedere "to yield" (see cede). Used as a noun in Latin philosophical writings.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
antecedent in Medicine

antecedent an·te·ce·dent (ān'tĭ-sēd'nt)
A precursor.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for antecedent

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for antecedent

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with antecedent