Definitions

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

  • adj. Existing or occurring before something else in time or order; prior: children by a previous marriage.
  • adj. Informal Acting, occurring, or done too soon; premature.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. prior; occurring before something else, either in time or order.
  • adj. premature; occurring too soon.
  • n. An existing criminal record

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Going before in time; being or happening before something else; antecedent; prior

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Going before in time; being or occurring before something else; earlier; antecedent; prior.
  • Previously to; before (previous being used adverbially, and with the preposition to equivalent to a simple preposition, before). Compare prior to, in a like loose use.
  • Synonyms Previous, Preceding, Precedent, Anterior, Prior, Former, Foregoing, Antecedent. All these words have lost their original application to space, and now apply only to that which goes before in time, except anterior, which may apply also to space, as the anterior part of the brain, and preceding, which as a participle still primarily applies to space, but as an adjective generally expresses order in time. Preceding means immediately before; the others may mean the same. Precedent often applies to that which has to go before in order to the existence or validity of that which follows: as, a condition precedent. Prior often means superior by being earlier: as, a prior claim. Anterior is opposed to posterior, prior to subsequent or sub-ordinate, former to latter, foregoing to following, antecedent to subsequent. See preliminary.

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

  • adj. too soon or too hasty
  • adj. (used especially of persons) of the immediate past
  • adj. just preceding something else in time or order

Etymologies

From Latin praevius, going before : prae-, pre- + via, way; see wegh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • Ah. Thanks.

    October 23, 2010

  • He uses it roughly in the same context one might use shirty. Like I said, it doesn't make terrible sense, but it enjoys a certain undefinable in me.

    October 23, 2010

  • never hear it before myself, but i assume: living in the past.. digging up old dirt.. in other words, let bygones be bygones.

    October 23, 2010

  • I don't get it. What's it supposed to mean?

    October 23, 2010

  • A friend of mine has a wonderful phrase "No need to get previous about this." I have no idea where he gets it from, but it is a delightful usage.

    October 23, 2010