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[an-teer-ee-er] /ænˈtɪər i ər/
situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to posterior).
going before in time or sequence; preceding; earlier:
events anterior to the outbreak of war.
Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) articulated in the region extending from the alveolar ridge to the lips; alveolar, dental, or labial.
(in animals and embryos) pertaining to or toward the head or forward end of the body.
(in humans) pertaining to or toward the front plane of the body, equivalent to the ventral surface of quadrupeds.
Botany. on the front side and away from the main axis, as the lower lip of a flower.
Origin of anterior
1535-45; < Latin, comparative of ante before, formed on model of posterior
Related forms
[an-teer-ee-awr-i-tee, -or-] /ænˌtɪər iˈɔr ɪ ti, -ˈɒr-/ (Show IPA),
anteriorly, adverb
nonanterior, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for anterior
  • The disgusting odours, he found, activated part of the brain called the anterior insula.
  • Your front body (anterior) is tight.
  • The struggle for water is the anterior theme.
  • The anterior border is the longest and slopes downward and forward.
  • She had torn the anterior cruciate ligament, which prevents excessive forward movement of the tibia in the lower leg.
  • After doctors told her the anterior cruciate ligament was severely damaged, no longer attached, she opted for surgery.
  • His second year became forgettable when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the second game.
  • She's removing the tiny screws from the glass inspection plate on the left anterior wall of the elevator.
  • It had been widely reported as a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament, sustained in a tackle.
  • Growth hormone is released from the anterior pituitary gland.
British Dictionary definitions for anterior


situated at or towards the front
earlier in time
(zoology) of or near the head end
(botany) (of part of a flower or leaf) situated farthest away from the main stem
Compare posterior
Derived Forms
anteriority (ænˌtɪərɪˈɒrɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, comparative of ante before
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
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Word Origin and History for anterior

1610s, Latin, literally "former," comparative of ante "before" (see ante). Related: Anteriority.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anterior in Medicine

anterior an·te·ri·or (ān-tēr'ē-ər)

  1. Placed before or in front.

  2. Occurring before in time; earlier.

  3. Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another; ventral.

  4. Near the head or rostral end of certain embryos.

The front surface of the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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