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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A pretty thing to 'ave my name in all the papers about 'ere as torturing a goose!

    The Giant's Robe F. Anstey
  • “We must call Kit into counsel, ere we can do that fully,” said Stephen.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Or else, "'ere's to 'er as shares our sorrers and doubles our joys!"

    Trilby George Du Maurier
  • But just ere the silent became unendurable, a thought appeared in the void.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • I have never seen them; though I trust to see them ere I die.

    Madam How and Lady Why Charles Kingsley
  • The boy was sickly: he might be taken from him ere he had made any true acquaintance with him!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Reflect, then, I entreat you, ere you afford even a causeless impression of distance or estrangement.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • "Were he alive we should have had word of him ere now," said he.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Nature does but sleep, and will, perhaps, ere long awake again.

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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