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before

[bih-fawr, -fohr] /bɪˈfɔr, -ˈfoʊr/
preposition
1.
previous to; earlier or sooner than:
Phone me before noon.
2.
in front of; ahead of; in advance of:
his shadow advancing before him; She stood before the window.
3.
ahead of; in the future of; awaiting:
The golden age is before us.
4.
in preference to; rather than:
They would die before surrendering.
5.
in precedence of, as in order or rank:
We put freedom before wealth.
6.
in the presence or sight of: to appear before an audience.
7.
less than; until: used in indicating the exact time:
It's ten before three.
8.
under the jurisdiction or consideration of:
He was summoned before a magistrate.
9.
confronted by; in the face of:
Before such wild accusations, he was too stunned to reply.
10.
in the regard of:
a crime before God and humanity.
11.
under the overwhelming influence of:
bending before the storm.
12.
without figuring or deducting:
income before deductions.
adverb
13.
in front; in advance; ahead:
The king entered with macebearers walking before.
14.
in time preceding; previously:
If we'd known before, we'd have let you know.
15.
earlier or sooner:
Begin at noon, not before.
conjunction
16.
previous to the time when:
Send the telegram before we go.
17.
sooner than; rather than:
I will die before I submit.
Origin of before
1000
before 1000; Middle English beforen, Old English beforan, equivalent to be by1 + foran before (fore fore1 + -an adv. suffix)
Antonyms
13. after, behind. 14. afterward. 15. later.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for before

before

/bɪˈfɔː/
conjunction (subordinating)
1.
earlier than the time when
2.
rather than: he'll resign before he agrees to it
preposition
3.
preceding in space or time; in front of; ahead of: standing before the altar
4.
when confronted by: to withdraw before one's enemies
5.
in the presence of: to be brought before a judge
6.
in preference to: to put friendship before money
adverb
7.
at an earlier time; previously; beforehand; in front
Word Origin
Old English beforan; related to Old Frisian befara, Old High German bifora
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for before
adv., prep.

Old English beforan "before, in front of, in the presence of, in former times," from Proto-Germanic *bi- "by" + *forana "from the front," adverbial derivative of *fora (see for). Cf. Old Frisian bifara, Old Saxon biforan, Old High German bifora, German bevor. Contrasting before and after in illustrations is from Hogarth (1768). Before the mast in old sailing ships denoting "common sailor," is from the place of their berths, in front of the fore-mast.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with before
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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