antecedent - definition in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online (US)

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antecedent

noun [C] uk   /ˌæn.tiˈsiː.dənt/  us   /-t̬ə-/
formal someone or something existing or happening before, especially as the cause or origin of something existing or happening later: Charles Babbage's mechanical calculating engines were the antecedents of the modern computer. Many people feel a great curiosity to find out about their antecedents. specialized language a word or phrase that a pronoun refers back to: In the sentence "He picked a book off the shelf and handed it to Sally", "book" is the antecedent of "it".

antecedent

adjective uk   /ˌæn.tiˈsiː.dənt/  us   /-t̬ə-/ formal
previous: When the college was established in 1546, it inherited a hall from each of three antecedent institutions.
(Definition of antecedent from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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