Definition of beforehand in English:



  • Before an action or event; in advance.

    ‘rooms must be booked beforehand’
    • ‘The glaze can be made beforehand and will keep for a week or more in the fridge.’
    • ‘So, when I go by plane, I'm careful not to eat too much beforehand, to make space for a tasty meal.’
    • ‘It was clear to me beforehand that there had been quite a few changes made.’
    • ‘I was nervous beforehand, but I walked up to you and you smiled at me and that totally settled my nerves.’
    • ‘We were warned beforehand that more than half of the time would be spent on the road.’
    • ‘Each walk has a different leader, is well organised beforehand and lasts between an hour and an hour and half.’
    • ‘But the seats had been booked up beforehand, and most of them weren't going to get in.’
    • ‘Finally, have your bags packed a day or two beforehand, having checked everything is in order.’
    • ‘But make sure you clean your teeth beforehand or have some chewing gum or a drink.’
    • ‘A blank version of my presentation will be going up just beforehand for people to make notes.’
    • ‘Police want to speak to anyone who witnessed the crash or who saw the motorcycle beforehand.’
    • ‘I don't recall people being asked beforehand if these events were wanted in the first place.’
    • ‘Unless you've been fully briefed beforehand, you haven't a clue what they expect of you.’
    • ‘They had been advising stores to remove affected products for several days beforehand.’
    • ‘There was a meal prepared under the direction of the famous chef, and he addressed us beforehand.’
    • ‘Because it is a large order I called the owner of the shop beforehand to find out whether or not the chicken was in stock.’
    • ‘In future, only community groups who make appointments beforehand will be allowed in.’
    • ‘Adam and I had a bit of time to waste beforehand, so we just walked up and down Newtown for a while.’
    • ‘Sensing it might be busy, I took the precaution of ringing beforehand to book a table.’
    • ‘You have all those dreams beforehand and then something always goes wrong.’
    in advance, in readiness, ahead of time
    View synonyms


  • be beforehand with

    • archaic Anticipate or forestall.

      ‘he discovered Ash had been beforehand with him’
      • ‘The insurgents entered the City by Lud Gate; but the Government had been beforehand with them.’
      • ‘I cut up along behind the hedge to be beforehand with you.’
      • ‘Wherefore the monarchy and hierarchy will be beforehand with it, if they see their true interest.’
      • ‘He tried to get the facts out of Susan, who he was sure would know, but Charlotte had been beforehand with him.’
      • ‘A little later he returns, and then as likely as not his terms are accepted, unless another has been beforehand with him and bought the lot.’


Middle English (originally as two words): from before + hand; probably influenced by Old French avant main.