|Origin:||beforan, from foran 'before', from fore; FORE-|
before2 S1 W1
earlier than something or someone [≠ after]: ➔ see usage note ago
The new road should be completed before the end of the year.
Let's meet at our house before the show.
Larry arrived home before me.
five minutes/two hours etc before something
Hugh arrived just five minutes before the ceremony.
before doing something
I usually take a shower before having my breakfast.
We only got back from Scotland the day before yesterday (=two days ago).
Other students joined in the protest, and before long (=soon) there was a crowd of 200 or so.
ahead of someone or something else in a list or order [≠ after]:
You were before me in the queue.
The files are in alphabetical order, so B1 comes before C1.
used to say that something happens where it can be watched by people:
Italy will face Brazil this afternoon before a crowd of 100,000 spectators.
an actor who had performed before the Queen
used to say that someone or something comes to be judged or considered by a person or group of people:
The proposal was put before the planning committee.
used to say that one thing or person is considered more important than another:
I put my wife and kids before anyone else.
In the air transport business, safety must always come before profit.
in front of something or someone:
The priest stood before the altar.
The sea stretched out before them.
if one place is before another place on a road or journey, the first place is nearer to you than the second, so you will reach it first [≠ after]:
The pub is 100m before the church on the right.
the last station before the Simplon Tunnel
if there is a job or situation before you, you will have to do the job or face the situation:
The task of emptying the house lay before us.
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.
You have your whole life before you.