Definition of ahead in English:



  • 1Further forward in space; in the line of one's forward motion.

    ‘the road ahead’
    ‘he was striding ahead towards the stream’
    • ‘Sally, 26, who qualifies as a nurse next month, said she could see a line of traffic ahead and realised something was wrong.’
    • ‘Loud, angry voices carried to him from the narrow space ahead.’
    • ‘And if you do find yourself in traffic, pull over and let the line behind you pass ahead and you'll usually have the road to yourself again.’
    • ‘Then, just before the interval, Brewster crafted a path for Ian Black on the left but he opted to let fly from long range when the space ahead beckoned him to come a little closer.’
    • ‘The police lining the block ahead yelled to stop, but the two young men in front apparently didn't hear because they were talking.’
    • ‘There were problems somewhere up ahead on the line, but the chain kept moving, and Lopez felt pressure to keep up.’
    • ‘Ava, a slumped, grey-haired woman just ahead in the line, is intrigued to hear of similar events going on elsewhere.’
    • ‘Getting out we can see that there's couple more spaces ahead, then a cattlegrid, another junction and apparently a cottage beyond it.’
    • ‘Then breaking the surface, one by one, the swimmers form a new line, a line that charges ahead like an angry serpent.’
    • ‘Vicki stepped off the escalator, waited for him to do the same, and then motioned ahead.’
    • ‘A passenger in his car, his son, said he had not been paying attention to the road ahead as they travelled towards their home.’
    • ‘As I motioned him ahead he looked at me with disbelief then lunged forward.’
    • ‘She spoke quietly, and her eyes darted back toward the road ahead.’
    • ‘Once they got through the horribly long line, Ellen ran ahead and found them a table.’
    • ‘They're not moving, just gazing ahead toward the Japanese lines.’
    • ‘Nowadays we just shake our heads in misery and shuffle ahead in line, waiting for the next available teller.’
    • ‘For those who can fit into the seats the driving position is excellent, with the floor-mounted pedals being dead ahead and well spaced.’
    • ‘Then Mr. Lake moved to stand beside Sara, again motioning ahead.’
    • ‘It was a long the hall with doorways lining the walls up ahead and they seemed to continue endlessly.’
    • ‘‘Come, we might as well start our journey as we talk,’ he said as he motioned towards the road ahead.’
    forward, forwards, towards the front, frontwards
    in front, at the head, in the lead, at the fore, to the fore, in the vanguard, in the van, in advance, at the head of the queue
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    1. 1.1 Further forward in time; in the near future.
      ‘he contemplated the day ahead’
      ‘we have to plan ahead’
      • ‘It looked like it was five years ahead in the future.’
      • ‘What steps have been taken, and what's ahead in the near future?’
      • ‘Although the couple feared the worst, it went unspoken and they tried to look to the future and plan ahead.’
      • ‘Tabby is a very talented entertainer and he has bright future ahead on stage.’
      • ‘Having just finished recording his debut album last week, Mike plans to learn more about music, take sound engineering courses and plan ahead for the future.’
      • ‘But looking ahead to the future, a scenario that we all fear is one in which the administration effectively ceases to function.’
      • ‘It offers a path ahead, a future where there had been only a past.’
      • ‘Rachel told the meeting that there is a huge amount of work to be undertaken in the months ahead.’
      • ‘Right now, Levski's two champion teams are enjoying a well-deserved break after a job well done and looking ahead to future successes.’
      • ‘Mrs Gilligan, who with her husband and sons runs a thriving dairying farm, believes the new system will give farmers the freedom to plan ahead for the future.’
      • ‘Just ahead, crossing the line, the growing use of profanity on television.’
      • ‘It is difficult to plan ahead when the future is so uncertain.’
      • ‘With a beautiful, healthy baby girl to raise and plans to marry, the couple had an exciting future ahead.’
      • ‘But there was still a big future ahead for plastics, in packaging, for example.’
      • ‘The framework should help public bodies, airport operators and airlines plan ahead for future applications.’
      • ‘Sometime ahead in future, these images may become invaluable records.’
      • ‘In fact, I'm seriously impressed at just how many parents, grandparents and other relatives are thinking ahead and planning their family's future.’
      • ‘Keep optimistic about the future and keep looking ahead.’
      • ‘They were making their wedding plans, and had a great future ahead.’
      • ‘It's that time when we think about the year ahead and start making plans for the future.’
      • ‘There may be challenges ahead but the future in this sector is certainly looking brighter than for several years.’
      • ‘However, the day ahead is dominated by a massive amount of college homework.’
      in the future, in time, in time to come, in the fullness of time, at a later date, after this, henceforth, subsequently, later on, in due course, next, from now on, from this day on, from this time on, from this day forth, from this day forward
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  • 2In the lead.

    ‘he was slightly ahead on points’
    • ‘Playing against the wind in the first half, Granlahan still managed to edge ahead and held a four points lead at the interval.’
    • ‘Two minutes later, Sharon Duncan put Armagh a point ahead, a lead for the Orchard County for the first time since the fifth minute of the game.’
    • ‘Sunderland might have gone further ahead when leading scorer Stephen Elliott wriggled into the penalty area only to drive his shot into the side netting.’
    • ‘Ecofin's day at the races… And they're coming up the back stretch now and it's Economic Recovery way ahead in the lead.’
    • ‘Ireland took a handy 18-8 lead into the break and went further ahead within four minutes of the re-start.’
    • ‘Robert Allenby took a five-stroke lead to move further ahead after the third round of the Australian Open at Moonah Links near Melbourne.’
    • ‘First Japan inched ahead to a tenuous lead holding it through the first half of the race.’
    • ‘He potted the last red and a green to go 33-12 ahead, a lead which should have been greater as he had taken seven reds without colours.’
    • ‘The crucial thing was that coming up the last few minutes, we were four points ahead but couldn't defend that lead.’
    • ‘On the spinnaker reach to Rayrigg Fiscal Folly pulled ahead, extending its lead in the blustery, fluctuating wind on the leg up to Swan's Nest.’
    • ‘Bootham Cons surged ahead to lead 8-1 but Holgate fought back to 10-10 after 11 ends.’
    • ‘Grange regrouped once more and pulled four points ahead however Palatine pulled back this lead once more thanks mainly to a cracking Moran goal.’
    • ‘Gearoid Nagle then pushed Jades ahead again to lead 44-46 as the game entered the final minute.’
    • ‘The Aussies start best and kick ahead to an early lead.’
    • ‘Pak responded with a birdie of her own at the 12th to tie the lead but Sorenstam edged ahead again at 15.’
    • ‘Taking Italy by surprise the Greeks snuck ahead to a slight lead.’
    • ‘Quitting while he was ahead, Shaw led his last big band in 1950.’
    • ‘In Game Seven, the Sox took the lead early and stayed ahead, defeating the Yankees 10-3.’
    • ‘A contrary view might emphasize that the market makers have invested vast amounts to stay ahead in the race for information.’
    • ‘The Millwall striker kept his nerve and once again sent keeper James Walker the wrong way to put the Lions ahead - a lead that was rarely threatened.’
    leading, winning, in the lead, in front, out in front, to the fore, first, coming first
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  • 3Higher in number, amount, or value than previously.

    ‘profits were slightly ahead’
    • ‘While demand may pick up as the threat of recession recedes, there are doubts that corporate profitability can soar ahead.’
    • ‘Marine services provider James Fisher and Sons is surging ahead after unveiling an 11 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of the year.’
    • ‘Operating profits from the region were 12% ahead on the back of greater efficiency and lower costs.’
    • ‘Markets and share values were moving ahead anyway.’
    • ‘Pre-tax profits are likely to race ahead to around £84.9m from £36.9m in 2002.’
    • ‘Trading at its hotels in the US had also improved with profits ahead 20% on the same period last year.’
    • ‘They are worlds ahead in price, quality and overall value.’
    • ‘If the balance sheet comes out ahead enough to indicate a decent profit, the comic or in broader terms the company is healthy.’
    • ‘Corporate banking was also very strongly ahead with profits rising by 44 per cent.’
    • ‘Profits for calendar 2003 are likely to be puff ahead by around £70m at £2.56 bn.’
    • ‘Analysts expect next year's half-year profits to nudge ahead to about £60m from £57m last time.’


  • ahead of

    • 1In front of or before.

      ‘she walked ahead of him along the corridor’
      ‘in qualifying he was fastest, ahead of teammate Prost’
      • ‘He walked a little ahead of her to his car, and conversation stopped for a moment.’
      • ‘Ferguson stood at all times in front of the dugout, two paces ahead of his entire coaching staff.’
      • ‘At night he searched for Estelle in the gardens for a routine stroll and there she was walking ahead of him.’
      • ‘Right after I got in front of the truck, there was another gap to allow me to move in front of the car ahead of me.’
      • ‘Some walk ahead of elderly and arthritic dogs, who are forced to struggle to keep up.’
      • ‘Spot fires broke out on the hills and ridges ahead of the main front, and quickly spread.’
      • ‘She turned back around and broke into a jog to get to the front of the group of people ahead of us.’
      • ‘Paul, wearing long robes, walks ahead of the horsemen and is flanked by two armed guards.’
      • ‘He began walking back, figuring he was a little way ahead of where he had been earlier.’
      • ‘But they believed they were protected by a front line of fighters ahead of them.’
      • ‘Adele walked quickly ahead of them, completely unaware of their friendly playing.’
      • ‘He ran ahead of Rob and stood in front of him, blocking him from continuing.’
      • ‘In a warm occlusion the air behind the cold front is relatively warmer than the air ahead of the warm front.’
      • ‘We walked down a steep hill, ahead of us the moon shone down on the waterfront.’
      • ‘He walks ahead of me and I stand still and watch as he makes his way past a coach with a London address on the side.’
      • ‘Megan had been so lost in her own thoughts that she had managed to walk a good few feet ahead of them before she realized what she was doing.’
      • ‘Chelsea was, as usual, dancing along the side of the road ahead of them, singing to her idol's tunes.’
      • ‘Then a bit later there was this teeny tiny little woman walking ahead of me.’
      • ‘I was walking in Shotley Gate this afternoon and up ahead of me was a lady walking her dog.’
      • ‘Blake fired a cross in which had gone too far ahead of his team-mates in the box.’
      in front of, before
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      1. 1.1In store for; awaiting.
        ‘we have a long drive ahead of us’
        • ‘Thomas and his band have a very busy summer schedule ahead of them including a tour of Scotland in June.’
        • ‘We could afford no such luxury, since it was now early afternoon and we had nearly another hour's drive ahead of us.’
        • ‘After riding the trains, they still had about a fifteen minute walk ahead of them.’
        • ‘With three or four days off in Spain ahead of me I am beginning to seriously doubt I can finish in time.’
        • ‘They had quite a walk ahead of them to return to the car they had left behind, but it didn't matter to them in the least.’
        • ‘On holiday tomorrow with a long drive to Glasgow ahead of me and then trailing round Ikea.’
        • ‘The next day we made it to the village only to find out there was a wedding on, so no porters were available and we still had a days walk ahead of us.’
        • ‘We had three nights and two days ahead of us to settle in and get to know the ship.’
        • ‘Then I realized he hadn't offered me a ride home so I now had a rather long walk ahead of me.’
        • ‘Michael, who is no stranger to the management of golf teams will have another busy year ahead of him.’
        • ‘You still have quite a walk ahead of you if you arrive only fifteen or twenty minutes before the play starts.’
        • ‘With a long drive to Kilkee ahead of me that evening, I opt for starting at Bolus Head and taking it from there.’
        • ‘To say that we have a tremendous amount of work yet ahead of us is an understatement.’
        in store for, waiting for, in wait for
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      2. 1.2Earlier than.
        ‘elimination of trade barriers came five years ahead of schedule’
        • ‘They were out on a training run ahead of a time trial that was to be the opening stage of the Tour of Germany.’
        • ‘It was taped in May, so could have been taped two months ahead of the election.’
        • ‘We could then start to think about regulations five or even ten years ahead of their introduction.’
        • ‘This is ahead of a programme of environmental improvements scheduled to begin shortly.’
        • ‘It is now expected to be completed by October, two months ahead of its scheduled date.’
        • ‘The company has started selling a new version of its product ahead of its original schedule.’
        • ‘What I can not grasp is the concept of a bus arriving a quarter of an hour early and leaving well ahead of its scheduled time.’
        • ‘It would be nice to have a reminder alarm set a few days ahead of a scheduled meeting.’
        • ‘Well done, you've come into form at the right time ahead of a busy summer schedule.’
        • ‘She will next undergo psychiatric tests ahead of a trial planned for 2003.’
        • ‘The primary goal is to bring order ahead of the arrival of a UN force scheduled to take over in June.’
        • ‘Thousands of new bins are being delivered to homes across Blackburn ahead of a new recycling drive.’
        • ‘The cell company is currently trialling its new service on the Isle of Man ahead of a summer launch.’
        • ‘The final touches are being made to the stores, ahead of their first day of trading.’
        • ‘A coded way of saying that it is an expensive problem on which he will not make many firm promises a year ahead of a general election.’
        • ‘BT says it will hand over co-location spaces for trial ahead of the original schedule.’
        • ‘Several media houses in Trinidad have also interviewed him ahead of his performance.’
        • ‘Trials are due to start in January ahead of a full commercial launch by the middle of next year.’
        • ‘It can often be a captain's duty to gee his team-mates up ahead of games.’
        in advance of, before, earlier than, prior to, previous to
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  • ahead of time

    • In advance.

      ‘being prepared with appropriate graphics ahead of time is a great policy’
      • ‘One of the best ways to cook is to make foods ahead of time.’
      • ‘Could the Gulf of Mexico oil spill finally end weeks ahead of the time BP officials say they expect to end it?’
      early, earlier than expected, earlier than required, in good time, with time to spare, timely, in advance, sooner, in readiness, already
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  • ahead of one's (or its) time

    • Innovative and radical by the standards of the time.

      ‘written at the end of the Fifties, it was a play ahead of its time’
      • ‘People sense that it was just a movie way ahead of its time, and if people had kept making those kinds of Latin genre movies, it would be huge business today.’
      • ‘There is no reason why it, or something like it, could not be commonplace at some time late in the present century, for like many of Bob's solutions, it is well ahead of its time.’
      • ‘But it was 1965 and a period when the portrayal of a woman as an all-action fighting machine, who gave men as good as she got, was still way ahead of its time.’
      • ‘They heralded the trike as an innovation which was ahead of its time.’
      • ‘In 1999, it was ahead of its time; today, it has come into its own.’
      • ‘School Principal Mary English pointed out just how innovative and ahead of its time the Council was with its constitution.’
      • ‘Yes, lots of lovely plays, but did you know that his embroidery was decades ahead of its time?’
      • ‘It was a movie far ahead of its time and very different mind-fodder from most of the unmemorable gloss and dross that came out of Hollywood that year.’
      • ‘Wonderful, spooky, synthesizer score - way ahead of its time.’
      • ‘Maybe he knew that this new genre was ahead of its time.’
      revolutionary, avant-garde, futuristic, innovatory, innovative, innovational, trailblazing, pioneering, groundbreaking, disruptive
      more advanced than, further on than, superior to, outdistancing, outstripping, surpassing, exceeding, better than, prevailing over
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  • get ahead of oneself

    • Act or plan prematurely or overconfidently.

      ‘I am getting ahead of myself; let's return to the beginning’
      • ‘I was very impressed with the notion that is bought up in the book on page 77 that one should not try to get ahead of oneself in golf.’
      • ‘It's easy to get ahead of oneself in the evaluation process, judging things that are still under development to be final.’


Mid 16th century (originally in nautical use): from a- ‘in, at’ + head.