Definition of beforehand in English:



  • Before an action or event; in advance.

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


  • be beforehand with

    • archaic Anticipate or forestall.

      ‘he discovered Ash 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.’
      • ‘Wherefore the monarchy and hierarchy will be beforehand with it, if they see their true interest.’
      • ‘The insurgents entered the City by Lud Gate; but the Government had been beforehand with them.’
      • ‘He tried to get the facts out of Susan, who he was sure would know, but Charlotte had been beforehand with him.’
      • ‘I cut up along behind the hedge to be beforehand with you.’


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