Top 39 Slang For Before – Meaning & Usage

Before, the word that represents the time leading up to a specific event or moment. But did you know that there are slang terms for this seemingly ordinary word? Join us as we uncover the top slang for before that will make you the coolest kid on the block. From hip phrases to trendy abbreviations, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to step up your slang game and impress your friends with these before expressions!

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1. Pre

This is a shortened version of the word “before” and is often used in informal or casual contexts.

  • For example, “I’ll meet you at the pre-party before the concert.”
  • In a discussion about planning, someone might say, “Let’s finalize the pre-meeting agenda.”
  • A person might ask, “Are you going to the pre-game tailgate?”

2. Prior

This word is used to indicate that something happened or existed before a specific time or event.

  • For instance, “I need the report prior to the meeting.”
  • In a conversation about scheduling, someone might say, “Let’s set up a meeting prior to the deadline.”
  • A person might ask, “Did you complete the work prior to leaving for vacation?”

3. Ante

This term is derived from Latin and is often used in gambling contexts to refer to the amount of money or chips that must be contributed before a hand is dealt.

  • For example, “You need to put in an ante of $5 to play this poker game.”
  • In a discussion about risk, someone might say, “I’m not willing to raise the ante on this investment.”
  • A person might ask, “What’s the ante for this high-stakes poker tournament?”

4. Fore

This is a shortened version of the word “before” and is often used in sports or outdoor activities.

  • For instance, “The golfer yelled ‘Fore!’ to warn others of an incoming ball.”
  • In a discussion about safety, someone might say, “Make sure to always yell ‘Fore!’ if your ball is heading towards other players.”
  • A person might ask, “Have you ever been hit by a stray ball on the golf course? Fore!”

5. Ere

This word is archaic and rarely used in modern English. It is derived from Middle English and is used to mean “before” or “prior to”.

  • For example, “I shall return ere nightfall.”
  • In a discussion about historical events, someone might say, “The king abdicated the throne ere the revolution.”
  • A person might ask, “Have you ever read literature from the ere of the Enlightenment?”

6. Afore

A synonym for “before” that is often used in a more formal or poetic context. It implies that something is done or happens prior to another event or action.

  • For example, “Please make sure to read the instructions afore starting the experiment.”
  • In a historical context, one might say, “The battle was lost afore reinforcements arrived.”
  • A writer might use the word to add a touch of elegance to their prose, such as, “The sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow afore the night fell.”

7. Preceding

Refers to something that comes before or is earlier in time or order. It can be used to describe events, actions, or objects.

  • For instance, “The preceding chapter discussed the historical context of the novel.”
  • In a list of instructions, one might say, “Complete the preceding steps before moving on to the next.”
  • A teacher might ask, “Who can summarize the main points covered in the preceding lesson?”

8. Formerly

Indicates that something was true or existed in the past but is no longer the case. It is often used to describe a previous state or condition.

  • For example, “The building was formerly a school but has since been converted into apartments.”
  • A news article might state, “The company, formerly a small startup, is now a major player in the industry.”
  • A person might introduce themselves by saying, “I’m John, formerly a professional athlete, now working in finance.”

9. Preliminary

Refers to something that comes before the main or final event or action. It is often used to describe a preparatory or introductory stage.

  • For instance, “The team conducted preliminary research before starting the project.”
  • In a sports competition, one might say, “The preliminary rounds will determine the top contestants.”
  • A scientist might explain, “These are preliminary findings and further investigation is needed to draw definitive conclusions.”

10. Preexisting

Describes something that already exists or is in place before a certain point in time or event. It is often used to refer to conditions, situations, or objects.

  • For example, “The preexisting condition made it difficult for the patient to recover from the illness.”
  • In a legal context, one might say, “The contract does not cover any preexisting disputes.”
  • A person might mention, “I had a preexisting appointment, so I couldn’t attend the meeting.”

11. Precedent

A term used to describe something that serves as an example or guide for future actions or decisions. It refers to a previous occurrence or decision that sets a standard to be followed.

  • For instance, in a legal context, a judge might refer to a previous court ruling as a precedent for the current case.
  • In a discussion about historical events, someone might say, “The signing of the Magna Carta set a precedent for future democratic principles.”
  • A person might use the term in a casual conversation, saying, “You set a precedent by being the first in our group to get a tattoo.”

12. Precedential

This term refers to something that has the quality of establishing a precedent or being influential in setting a standard or example.

  • For example, in the field of law, a precedential case is one that carries significant weight and can be used as a reference for future decisions.
  • In a discussion about scientific discoveries, someone might say, “Einstein’s theory of relativity was a precedential breakthrough in the field of physics.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a significant event in their life, saying, “Winning the championship was a precedential moment for me.”

13. Preparatory

This term refers to something that is done in advance or in preparation for a future event or task. It implies taking necessary steps or actions to be ready for something.

  • For instance, in the context of education, a preparatory course is taken to prepare students for a more advanced level of study.
  • In a discussion about sports, someone might say, “Stretching and warm-up exercises are important for preparatory purposes before a game.”
  • A person might use the term to describe their actions before a big presentation, saying, “I spent the morning doing preparatory research and organizing my materials.”

14. Preoperative

This term is used to describe something that occurs or is done before a surgical procedure. It refers to the period or activities leading up to a surgery.

  • For example, in a medical context, a preoperative examination involves assessing a patient’s health and fitness for surgery.
  • In a discussion about medical procedures, someone might say, “The preoperative instructions include fasting for a certain period of time before the surgery.”
  • A person might use the term to describe their experience before a scheduled surgery, saying, “I had to go through a series of preoperative tests and consultations.”

15. Antecedent

This term refers to something that comes before or precedes another thing in time or order. It can also refer to a person’s ancestors or predecessors.

  • For instance, in a linguistic context, an antecedent is a word, phrase, or clause that is replaced by a pronoun in a sentence.
  • In a discussion about family history, someone might say, “I’ve traced my antecedents back to the 18th century.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a historical figure who had an influence on later events, saying, “Martin Luther King Jr. is considered an antecedent of the modern civil rights movement.”

16. Earlier

Refers to a time that is before a particular point or occurrence.

  • For example, “I woke up earlier than usual this morning.”
  • A person might say, “Let’s meet for lunch earlier than planned.”
  • In a conversation about work deadlines, someone might ask, “Can you finish the report earlier?”

17. Predecessor

Refers to something or someone that comes before another in time, order, or rank.

  • For instance, “The new model is an improvement over its predecessor.”
  • In a discussion about technology, someone might say, “The iPhone X was the predecessor to the iPhone 11.”
  • A person discussing political leaders might mention, “The current president’s predecessor had a different approach to foreign policy.”

18. Prearranged

Refers to something that has been arranged or agreed upon before it takes place.

  • For example, “We had a prearranged meeting at the coffee shop.”
  • In a conversation about travel, someone might say, “I have a prearranged itinerary for my trip.”
  • A person discussing a surprise party might mention, “The prearranged signal for everyone to hide was a specific song playing.”

19. Preconceived

Refers to an idea or opinion that is formed in advance, often without proper evidence or consideration.

  • For instance, “I had a preconceived notion about the movie, but it turned out to be completely different.”
  • In a discussion about stereotypes, someone might say, “It’s important to challenge our preconceived beliefs.”
  • A person discussing relationships might note, “It’s important not to enter a new relationship with preconceived expectations.”

20. Prehistoric

Refers to a period of time that existed before written records or historical documentation.

  • For example, “Dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the prehistoric era.”
  • In a discussion about ancient civilizations, someone might mention, “The pyramids were built during prehistoric times.”
  • A person discussing archaeological discoveries might say, “The cave paintings provide insights into prehistoric human culture.”

21. Preemptive

This term refers to taking action before something happens in order to prevent or counteract it. It often implies a strategic or calculated approach to dealing with a potential situation.

  • For example, a country might launch a preemptive strike against another nation’s military to neutralize a perceived threat.
  • In a business context, a company might take preemptive measures to protect its intellectual property from being stolen.
  • A person might say, “I’m going to make a preemptive apology in case I say something offensive.”

22. Preempt

To “preempt” means to take priority or precedence over something else. It suggests acting or making a decision before others have a chance to do so.

  • For instance, a company might preempt a competitor’s product launch by releasing a similar product first.
  • In a conversation, one person might say, “Sorry to preempt you, but I have to leave early.”
  • A student might preempt their professor’s lecture by asking a question related to the upcoming topic.
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23. Preemptively

This term describes doing something in advance or before it is expected or necessary. It implies taking proactive measures to prevent or mitigate a future event.

  • For example, a person might take preemptive action by getting a flu shot before flu season begins.
  • In a negotiation, one party might offer a preemptive compromise in order to avoid potential conflicts.
  • A student might study preemptively for an exam, even though it’s not until next week.

24. Preemptory

“Preemptory” describes an action or statement that is assertive and takes control of a situation. It often implies a sense of authority or superiority.

  • For instance, a boss might give a preemptory order to their employees, expecting immediate compliance.
  • In a group discussion, one person might make a preemptory statement to assert their dominance or expertise.
  • A parent might use a preemptory tone to give instructions to their child.

25. Preemptive strike

A “preemptive strike” is a military tactic where one side initiates an attack on the enemy before the enemy has a chance to attack. It is a proactive measure taken to neutralize a perceived threat.

  • For example, a country might launch a preemptive strike against another nation’s missile facilities to prevent an imminent attack.
  • In a game of chess, a player might make a preemptive strike to capture the opponent’s key piece before it can be used effectively.
  • A person might use the term metaphorically, saying, “I’m going to make a preemptive strike and clean the house before my guests arrive.”

26. Preemptive war

A preemptive war refers to a military action taken by one country against another in order to prevent an imminent attack or threat. The term implies that the attacking country is acting defensively by striking first.

  • For example, “The country launched a preemptive war to destroy the enemy’s weapons before they could be used.”
  • In a discussion about international conflicts, one might say, “Preemptive wars are often controversial because they involve attacking another country based on potential threats.”
  • A military strategist might argue, “Preemptive wars can be justified if there is clear evidence of an imminent attack.”

27. Preemptive action

Preemptive action refers to taking proactive measures or steps before an anticipated event or situation occurs. It is a way to prevent or mitigate potential problems or risks.

  • For instance, “The company took preemptive action by implementing stricter security measures after a data breach.”
  • In a discussion about disaster preparedness, one might say, “Preemptive actions such as creating emergency plans can save lives in times of crisis.”
  • A government official might emphasize, “Preemptive actions are necessary to protect the public and ensure their safety.”

28. Preemptive measure

A preemptive measure is a proactive step taken to prevent or address a potential problem or threat before it occurs. It is a way to stay ahead of the situation and minimize negative consequences.

  • For example, “The school implemented preemptive measures to prevent bullying by promoting awareness and providing support.”
  • In a discussion about cybersecurity, one might say, “Preemptive measures such as regular software updates can help prevent cyber attacks.”
  • A business owner might explain, “Preemptive measures like conducting regular maintenance can prevent costly equipment breakdowns.”

29. Preemptive move

A preemptive move refers to taking action or making a decision before someone else does, especially in a competitive or strategic context. It is a way to gain an advantage or prevent the other party from taking control.

  • For instance, “The chess player made a preemptive move to control the center of the board.”
  • In a discussion about negotiation tactics, one might say, “Making a preemptive move can set the tone and give you an upper hand.”
  • A sports analyst might comment, “The team made a preemptive move by signing a promising young player before their competitors.”

30. Preemptive bid

A preemptive bid refers to making a bid or offering a price before others do, especially in an auction or competitive bidding process. It is a way to secure a purchase or gain an advantage over potential buyers.

  • For example, “The collector made a preemptive bid to secure the rare item before others had a chance.”
  • In a discussion about real estate, one might say, “Making a preemptive bid can help you stand out in a competitive housing market.”
  • An auctioneer might announce, “We have received a preemptive bid for this artwork, setting the starting price higher than expected.”

31. Preemptive right

This term refers to the right to purchase or acquire something before others have the chance to do so. It is often used in the context of business or legal agreements, where certain parties are given priority in acquiring assets or shares.

  • For example, in a real estate deal, a potential buyer might have a preemptive right to purchase the property before it is offered to other buyers.
  • In a corporate setting, existing shareholders might have a preemptive right to purchase additional shares before they are offered to new investors.
  • A person discussing investment strategies might say, “Having a preemptive right can provide a significant advantage in acquiring valuable assets.”

32. Preemptive scheduling

This refers to the practice of scheduling or arranging events, tasks, or appointments in advance, often to ensure efficiency and avoid conflicts. It involves anticipating potential issues or needs and taking proactive measures to address them.

  • For instance, a project manager might use preemptive scheduling to allocate resources and set deadlines for various tasks in a project.
  • A student might create a preemptive schedule for their semester, mapping out study times and assignment due dates in advance.
  • A busy professional might rely on preemptive scheduling to avoid double bookings and ensure they have enough time for important meetings and events.
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33. Preemptive multitasking

This term describes the practice of performing multiple tasks simultaneously, with the intention of completing them in a timely manner and avoiding potential issues or delays. It involves identifying tasks that can be done simultaneously and efficiently managing time and resources.

  • For example, a software developer might engage in preemptive multitasking by writing code for one feature while running tests for another.
  • A parent might use preemptive multitasking by preparing dinner while helping their child with homework.
  • A project manager might employ preemptive multitasking by delegating tasks to team members while simultaneously working on their own tasks.

34. Preemptive strike policy

This refers to a military or political strategy that involves initiating an attack or taking action against a perceived threat before the threat has a chance to strike first. It is often used to prevent or deter potential aggression from adversaries.

  • For instance, a country might have a preemptive strike policy in place to counteract the development of weapons of mass destruction by another nation.
  • In a discussion about international relations, a political analyst might debate the effectiveness and ethical implications of preemptive strike policies.
  • A military strategist might argue that preemptive strikes can disrupt an enemy’s plans and provide a strategic advantage.

35. Preemptive self-defense

This term refers to the practice of taking defensive measures or actions to protect oneself or others before an actual threat or attack occurs. It involves recognizing potential dangers and taking proactive steps to ensure personal safety.

  • For example, a person might undergo self-defense training as a preemptive measure to be prepared for potential threats.
  • In a discussion about personal safety, someone might advocate for preemptive self-defense strategies such as carrying pepper spray or learning martial arts.
  • A law enforcement officer might use preemptive self-defense techniques to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation before it turns violent.
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36. Precedence

Precedence refers to the condition of being considered more important or having higher priority in a particular situation. It is often used to describe the order in which things should be done or the level of importance assigned to different tasks.

  • For example, in a meeting, a manager might say, “Let’s discuss the issues in order of precedence.”
  • In a project plan, tasks might be labeled with different levels of precedence, such as “high,” “medium,” or “low.”
  • A supervisor might assign tasks to employees based on their level of precedence, ensuring that the most important tasks are completed first.

37. Prequel

A prequel is a story or film that is set before the events of a previous work, providing background information or context. It often explores the origins of characters or events that were mentioned or hinted at in the original work.

  • For instance, “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” is a prequel to the original “Star Wars” trilogy.
  • A fan might say, “I can’t wait to watch the prequel and learn more about the characters’ pasts.”
  • A movie reviewer might write, “The prequel successfully expands the universe established in the original film.”

38. Premonitory

Premonitory refers to something that serves as a warning or indication of a future event. It is often used to describe a feeling or sense of foreboding about something that is going to happen.

  • For example, “She had a premonitory dream about the accident before it happened.”
  • A person might say, “I have a premonitory feeling that something bad is going to happen.”
  • A writer might describe a character’s premonitory visions, saying, “He was haunted by premonitory dreams that predicted disaster.”

39. Former

Former refers to something or someone that existed or held a particular position or status before the present time. It is often used to indicate a past state or condition.

  • For instance, “He is a former champion of the sport.”
  • In a discussion about political leaders, one might say, “The former president had a different approach to foreign policy.”
  • A person might introduce themselves by saying, “I’m a former student of this university.”