Meaning of before

be•fore

Pronunciation: (bi-fôr', -fōr'), [key]
— prep.
  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.
—adv.
  1. in front; in advance; ahead: The king entered with macebearers walking before.
  2. in time preceding; previously: If we'd known before, we'd have let you know.
  3. earlier or sooner: Begin at noon, not before.
—conj.
  1. previous to the time when: Send the telegram before we go.
  2. sooner than; rather than: I will die before I submit.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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