1 conjunction
1 earlier than the time when something happens: Say goodbye before you go. | It will be sometime before we know the full results.
2 so that something bad does not happen: Put that money somewhere safe before it gets stolen. | That dog ought to be destroyed before it attacks any more children.
3 used to say that your are willing to suffer or do something unpleasant rather than do something that you do not want to do: He will die before he tells them what they want to know.
4 before you know it spoken used to say that something will happen very soon: We'd better set off or it will be dark before we know it.
5 used to warn someone not to laugh at, criticize etc someone or something because they have faults and weaknesses themselves: Before the chairman starts attacking committee members he ought to remember his own mistakes.
6 used to warn someone that you will do something unpleasant or harmful to them if they do not do something: Get out before I call the police.
2 preposition
1 earlier than something: I usually take a shower before having my breakfast. | The new road should be completed before the end of the year. | He arrived home before me. | the day before yesterday (=two days ago)
-see front 1
2 ahead of someone or something else in a list or order: I think you were before me in the queue.
3 in the same place, or in front of a person or crowd of people: Italy will face Brazil this afternoon before a crowd of 100,000 spectators.
4 if something such as a report or evidence is put before a person or group of people they must consider it and make a decision about it: The proposal was put before the planning committee.
5 if one quality or person comes before another, it is more important than it: I put my wife and kids before anyone else. | Quality must come before quantity in my opinion.
6 formal in front of: The priest stood before the altar. | The great plain stretched out before them.
7 if one place is before another place it is a particular distance in front of that place as you travel towards it: The pub is 100m before the church on the right.
8 formal if there is a job or situation before you, you have to do the job or face the situation soon: The task of emptying the house lay before us.
9 formal if a period of time is before you it is about to start and you can do what you want during it: We had a glorious summer afternoon before us to do as we pleased.
10 formal if you show a particular reaction before someone or something you react in that way: She trembled before the prospect of meeting him again.
3 adverb
1 at an earlier time: Haven't we met before? | I thought she might take notice of what I said but she just carries on as before. | the day/week/month before: Last week she was in Paris, and the week before she was in Rome. | before long: I expect the bus will be here before long. | The kids were playing in the mud and before long they were covered in it.
2 old use ahead of someone or something else: The king's herald walked before.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Before — Be*fore , prep. [OE. beforen, biforen, before, AS. beforan; pref. be + foran, fore, before. See {Be }, and {Fore}.] 1. In front of; preceding in space; ahead of; as, to stand before the fire; before the house. [1913 Webster] His angel, who shall… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Before — «Before» Сингл Pet Shop Boys из альбома Bilingual Выпущен 22 апреля, 1996 года Формат CD Записан 1995 Жанр Электро …   Википедия

  • before — [bē fôr′, bifôr′] adv. [ME biforen < OE beforan < be , BY + foran,FORE] 1. in advance; in front; ahead 2. in the past; previously [I ve heard that song before] 3. at an earlier time; sooner [come at ten, not before] prep …   English World dictionary

  • before — before, ahead, forward are comparable when they mean in advance, especially in place or in time. Before is more commonly used in reference to time than to place. Its most frequent implication is previousness or priority {I have heard that before} …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Before — Be*fore , adv. 1. On the fore part; in front, or in the direction of the front; opposed to {in the rear}. [1913 Webster] The battle was before and behind. 2 Chron. xiii. 14. [1913 Webster] 2. In advance. I come before to tell you. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • before — be·fore prep 1: in the presence of then personally appeared before me 2: to be judged or acted on by a case before the court a bill coming up before Congress Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 19 …   Law dictionary

  • Before Me — Studioalbum von Gladys Knight Veröffentlichung 2006 Label Verve …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • before — O.E. beforan before, in front of, in the presence of, in former times, from P.Gmc. *bi by + *forana from the front, adverbial derivative of *fora (see FOR (Cf. for)). Cf. O.Fris. bifara, O.S. biforan, O.H.G. bifora, Ger. bevor. Contrasting …   Etymology dictionary

  • before — [adv] earlier afore, aforetime, ahead, ante, antecedently, anteriorly, back, before present, ere, fore, former, formerly, forward, gone, gone by, heretofore, in advance, in days of yore, in front, in old days, in the past, past, precendently,… …   New thesaurus

  • before — ► PREPOSITION , CONJUNCTION , & ADVERB 1) during the period of time preceding. 2) in front of. 3) in preference to; rather than. ORIGIN Old English, from BY(Cf. ↑by) + FORE(Cf. ↑fore) …   English terms dictionary

  • before — be|fore1 W1S1 [bıˈfo: US ˈfo:r] conj 1.) earlier than a particular event or action ≠ ↑after ▪ Say goodbye before you go. ▪ I saw her a few days before she died. see usage note ↑ago 2.) so that something does not or cannot happen ▪ Put that money… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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