Meaning of “ahead” in the English Dictionary

"ahead" in British English

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uk /əˈhed/ us /əˈhed/

ahead adverb (IN FRONT)

B1 in front:

The road ahead is very busy.
Turn left at the traffic lights, and you'll see the hospital straight ahead.
Rick walked on ahead of us.
You go on ahead of (= before) me, and I'll meet you there.

B2 having more points, votes, etc. than someone else in a competition, election, etc.:

Apparently, the latest opinion polls put the Democrats 15 percent ahead of the Republicans.
Barcelona was ahead after ten minutes.

C2 making more progress than someone else:

Sophie is way (= far) ahead of the other children in her class.

More examples

  • The path ahead was flat and smooth.
  • We must stay one step ahead of our competitors.
  • In the last few metres of the race, she suddenly zoomed ahead.
  • You two go ahead - Sam and I'll bring up the rear.
  • He kept his eyes on the road ahead, his face taut with concentration.

ahead adverb (IN THE FUTURE)

B1 in or into the future:

She has a difficult time ahead of her.
He couldn't bear to think of the lonely year ahead.

More examples

  • I've got a busy week ahead of me.
  • Planning so far ahead makes no sense - so many things will have changed by next year.
  • Normally, I plan one or two days ahead.
  • The hardest part of the competition still lies ahead of us.
  • Friendless and jobless, he wondered how he would survive the year ahead.

(Definition of “ahead” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"ahead" in American English

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us /əˈhed/

ahead adverb (IN FRONT)

[ not gradable ] directly in front:

She only had a few things in her shopping cart, so I told her she could go ahead of me in the checkout line.

[ not gradable ] Ahead also means further along in development or achievement:

Sophie is way ahead of the rest of her class.

ahead adverb (IN THE FUTURE)

in or into the future:

We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
You have to plan ahead when you’re thinking of going to graduate school.

(Definition of “ahead” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"ahead" in Business English

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uk /əˈhed/ us

at a better, higher, or greater level than before:

be ahead by sth First-half figures showed that pre-tax profits were ahead by 8% to £94.8m.
Full-year profits jumped 25% to £106m pre-tax, which was ahead of expectations.

more developed, advanced, or able to succeed:

keep/get/stay ahead To get ahead in the industry you need the right tools and the right connections.
ahead of sb/sth After showing signs of slowing sales growth, the group cut its prices to stay ahead of its rivals.
See also

(Definition of “ahead” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)