The Meaning of Preceding: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of preceding? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word preceding, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word preceding mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary or American Heritage, the word preceding is the present progressive form of the verb precede. This transitive verb means to surpass in rank, importance, or dignity, to be earlier than, to be, go, or to come ahead or in front of something or someone. The word preceding is considered an adjective meaning existing, coming, or occurring immediately before something else in time or place. The pronunciation of preceding is ​​prɪˈsiːdɪŋ. This word could serve as a means of definite comparison, or could refer to some prior obligation or past action. This implies a causal relation, and sometimes the implication of greater importance. This word uses the suffix ing

Different languages also contain words that mean preceding. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word precede. These are called cognates. Cognates are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word preceding is provided by Word Sense, but you would also find related terms in a Spanish Dictionary or German Dictionary, or other multilingual translator.

  •  Ancient Greek: ἡγέομαι‎
  •  French: précéder‎
  •  German: vorangehen‎, vorausgehen‎
  •  Finnish: kulkea edellä‎, edeltää‎
  •  Russian: предше́ствовать‎ (impf)
  •  Polish: poprzedzać‎
  •  Greek: προηγούμαι‎
  •  Turkish: önce gelmek‎, önce gitmek‎
  •  Bulgarian: предшествам‎
  •  Italian: precedere‎
  •  Dutch: vooraf gaan‎, laten voorbijgaan‎, passen‎
  •  Spanish: preceder‎, anteceder‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: prethoditi‎, претходити‎
  •  Japanese: 先んずる‎ (さきんずる, sakinzuru)
  •  Czech: předcházet‎ (impf)
  •  Romanian: preceda‎
  •  Swahili: tangulia‎
  •  Portuguese: preceder‎, anteceder‎
  •  Indonesian: memasrahkan
  •  Lojban: lidne‎

See if you can determine what languages the following words are from in this quiz – you may need to make flashcards: ​anteceder eespool minema voorafgaan aan gå ​​​presedent سابِقَه предишен precedente​ ​precedentas precedents ​der präzedenzfall koji ima prednost होना predhoditi trước 先于 ​skje forut मिसाल preseden imati precedente precedent прецдент duluan precedent

How can the word preceding be used in a sentence?

The word preceding can be used in many different English language sentences. Below are many examples of proceeding. 

On the preceding Monday Shobana quit her job, and that Friday was her last day. 

Since the legal decision preceded the new law going into effect, the man was sentenced to jail anyway. 

In the excavation, they discovered the unabridged 2nd edition, which preceded the unabridged 7th edition, which preceded the unabridged 8th edition, which preceded the 12th edition of the dictionary. Who knows what happened to the other editions.

The retiring member of the board did not realize that the other speaker was meant to be preceding him at the time of the utterance of his own speech. 

Preceding her first year at Princeton University, Haley’s family took a summer vacation to Hawaii. 

Since they lost their previous means of income, the former name of the company was changed preceding their buyout.

Preceding their copyright claim, the authors approached the publishers at Random House and Harpercollins Publishers for credit for their quote in a footnote. 

Preceding their wedding day, the bride did an advanced search and found that her husband indeed had a previous marriage. 

She stared at the ad on the preceding page over and over again, and stuck bookmarks in the page so she could come back and stare some more.

What is the origin of the word preceding?

According to Etymonline, the first known use of the word precede was in the early 15th century, from the Middle English preceden. This comes from the Old French preceder and the Latin praecedere, meaning to go before. This comes from the prefix prae meaning before and the Latin cedere meaning to go. This is from Proto-Indo-European roots, namely the root ked meaning to go to yield. This word meant to walk in front of by the late 15th century and to go before in rank or importance by the mid-15th century. Related words include precedent (​​ˈpresidənt), precedence (​​​​ˈpresidəns) and precession. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word preceding?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word preceding. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful English grammatical devices to know because they can help you to avoid repeating yourself as well as to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word preceding is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  prior
  •  erstwhile
  •  aforeknown
  •  other
  •  above
  •  prodromal
  •  prevenient
  •  forerunning
  •  preparatory
  •  foregoing
  •  lead
  •  above-mentioned
  •  precursive
  •  previous
  •  before
  •  preexistent
  •  ahead of
  •  introductory
  •  anterior
  •  leading
  •  one time
  •  precedent
  •  heretofore
  •  aforesaid
  •  pioneer
  •  precursory
  •  aforementioned
  •  prefatory
  •  antecedent
  •  past
  •  former
  •  forward
  •  earlier
  •  head
  •  supra
  •  pioneering
  •  preliminary
  •  above-named
  •  front

There are also numerous different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word preceding. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word preceding is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  again
  •  ulterior
  •  behind
  •  subsequential
  •  downstream
  •  subsequent
  •  back of
  •  in a while
  •  thereafter
  •  afterward
  •  later on
  •  infra
  •  posterior
  •  postliminary
  •  subsequently
  •  below
  •  ensuing
  •  down the road
  •  back
  •  in the rear
  •  succeeding
  •  hind
  •  later
  •  next
  •  rear
  •  more recent
  •  down the line
  •  after
  •  by and by
  •  hindmost
  •  come Sunday
  •  afterwards
  •  latterly
  •  at another time
  •  in time
  •  following
  •  proximate

Overall, the word preceding means coming before in time or place. This word is Latin in origin and can be used in many different contexts in the English language. This word is neither considered casual nor formal, so it can be appropriate for a variety of different use cases. 


  1. PRECEDING Synonyms: 45 Synonyms & Antonyms for PRECEDING | Thesaurus 
  2. AFTER Synonyms: 19 Synonyms & Antonyms for AFTER | Thesaurus 
  3. precede: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense