from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Placed before or in front.
  • adj. Occurring before in time; earlier.
  • adj. Anatomy Located near or toward the head in lower animals.
  • adj. Anatomy Located on or near the front of the body in higher animals.
  • adj. Anatomy Located on or near the front of an organ or on the ventral surface of the body in humans.
  • adj. Botany In front of and facing away from the axis or stem.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Before in place.
  • adj. Before or earlier in time; prior to; preceding.
  • adj. Nearer the forward end; nearer the head of an animal or the front of a human.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Before in time; antecedent.
  • adj. Before, or toward the front, in place

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of place: fore; situated more to the front: the opposite of posterior.
  • Of time: going before; preceding; antecedent; prior; earlier.
  • In zoology and zootomy, nearer the head, as opposed to posterior; cephalal, as opposed to caudal; oral, as opposed to aboral: thus, the head is anterior to the neck, which is itself anterior to the trunk and tail.
  • In human anatomy, situated in front, with respect to that side of the body on which is the face; ventral, as opposed to dorsal; hemal, as opposed to neural: as, the anterior pillars of the pharynx; the anterior walls of the belly; the anterior pillars of the spinal cord.
  • In botany, in axillary inflorescence, noting the side most distant from the axis and nearest the subtending leaf or bract: as, the anterior side of a flower: otherwise called inferior or lower.
  • Synonyms See previous.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or near the head end or toward the front plane of a body
  • adj. earlier in time
  • n. a tooth situated at the front of the mouth


Latin, comparative of ante, before; see ant- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin anterior, comparative of ante ("forward, before") (Wiktionary)


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