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[air] /ɛər/
preposition, conjunction
Origin of ere
before 900; Middle English; Old English ǣr, ēr (cognate with German ehr), comparative of ār soon, early; cognate with Gothic air. See erst, early
Can be confused
air, e'er, ere, err, heir. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ere
  • ere the lapse of many weeks, perhaps days, the skating season will be inaugurated.
  • The names of the vessels are not given, but it is probable that you have them ere this.
  • The messages in the first three w ere pretty easy, but the fourth threw a few of you.
  • He must, in fact, calculate on experiencing many such ere his exertions are crowned with triumph.
  • H ere, surely, was the zenith of the property-owning democracy.
  • All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
  • ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.
  • The use of ere with a gerund is particularly to be avoided.
  • ere the last snow-drift melts your tender buds have blown.
British Dictionary definitions for ere


conjunction, preposition
a poetic word for before
Word Origin
Old English ǣr; related to Old Norse ār early, Gothic airis earlier, Old High German ēr earlier, Greek eri early
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 ere

c.1200, from Old English ær (adv., conj., & prep.) "soon, before (in time)," from Proto-Germanic *airiz, comparative of *air "early" (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German er, Dutch eer; German eher "earlier;" Old Norse ar "early;" Gothic air "early," airis "earlier"), from PIE *ayer- "day, morning" (cf. Avestan ayar "day;" Greek eerios "at daybreak," ariston "breakfast"). The adverb erstwhile retains the Old English superlative ærest "earliest."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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