before Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “before” in the English Dictionary

"before" in British English

See all translations

beforepreposition, adverb, conjunction

uk   /bɪˈfɔːr/  us   /-ˈfɔːr/
A1 at or during a ​timeearlier than (the thing ​mentioned): You should always ​washyourhands before ​meals. Before leaving he said ​goodbye to each of them. She's always up before ​dawn. Before he could ​reach the ​door, she ​quicklyclosed it. Before we make a ​decision, does anyone ​want to say anything ​else? She had to give the ​doorman a ​tip before he would ​help her with her ​suitcases (= he would not do it until she had given him a ​tip).B1 until (the ​eventmentioned): It was an ​hour before the ​policearrived.A2 in the past: He said he had never ​seen her before. I ​feel as though I've been here before.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

beforepreposition

uk   /bɪˈfɔːr/  us   /-ˈfɔːr/
B1 in ​front of: The ​letter K comes before L in the ​Englishalphabet. Many ​mothers put ​their children's ​needs before ​their own. We have the ​wholeweekend before us - what do you ​want to do? He ​stood up before a ​wholeroomful of ​people, and ​asked her to ​marry him.A2 If a ​place is before another ​place, you will ​arrive at it first when you are ​travelling towards the second ​place: The ​busstop is just before the ​school. If something is before someone or before a ​group of ​people, it will be ​formallyconsidered or ​examined by that ​person or ​group: The ​proposal before the ​committee is that we ​try and ​reduceourspending by ten ​percent. The men appeared before the ​judgeyesterday.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

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

"before" in American English

See all translations

beforepreposition, conjunction, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /bɪˈfɔr, -ˈfoʊr/
at or during a ​timeearlier than (the thing ​mentioned): I ​left early because I ​wanted to ​arrivehome before ​dark. Before making up ​yourmind, ​think about all ​youroptions. It was another ​halfhour before (= until) the ​ambulancefinallyarrived. Less than a ​week before, he’d ​graduated from ​college.before last Before last ​means before the most ​recent: Today is ​Monday, so the ​day before last was ​Saturday.

beforepreposition

 us   /bɪˈfɔr, -ˈfoʊr/
  • before preposition (IN FRONT)

in ​front of: It took ​courage to ​stand before a ​courtroomfull of ​people.
(Definition of before from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of before?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

hipster

someone who is very influenced by the most recent ideas and fashions

Word of the Day

Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
by Liz Walter,
February 03, 2016
My previous post (My leg hurts: Talking about illness (1)) presented some general vocabulary to use at the doctor’s. This one looks at some more specific areas of illness and explains some useful words and phrases that you may need to use or understand on a visit to the doctor’s. There are several

Read More 

awesomesauce noun
awesomesauce noun
February 01, 2016
slang the state of being extremely good or enjoyable or something or someone that is extremely good or enjoyable Recovering from the awesomesauce of another fab #Vidcon!!

Read More