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.