Definition of ahead in US English:



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

    ‘he had to give his attention to the road ahead’
    ‘he was striding ahead toward the stream’
    • ‘Vicki stepped off the escalator, waited for him to do the same, and then motioned ahead.’
    • ‘Ava, a slumped, grey-haired woman just ahead in the line, is intrigued to hear of similar events going on elsewhere.’
    • ‘It was a long the hall with doorways lining the walls up ahead and they seemed to continue endlessly.’
    • ‘Nowadays we just shake our heads in misery and shuffle ahead in line, waiting for the next available teller.’
    • ‘Getting out we can see that there's couple more spaces ahead, then a cattlegrid, another junction and apparently a cottage beyond it.’
    • ‘There were problems somewhere up ahead on the line, but the chain kept moving, and Lopez felt pressure to keep up.’
    • ‘As I motioned him ahead he looked at me with disbelief then lunged forward.’
    • ‘A passenger in his car, his son, said he had not been paying attention to the road ahead as they travelled towards their home.’
    • ‘Then Mr. Lake moved to stand beside Sara, again motioning ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sally, 26, who qualifies as a nurse next month, said she could see a line of traffic ahead and realised something was wrong.’
    • ‘‘Come, we might as well start our journey as we talk,’ he said as he motioned towards the road ahead.’
    • ‘Loud, angry voices carried to him from the narrow space ahead.’
    • ‘For those who can fit into the seats the driving position is excellent, with the floor-mounted pedals being dead ahead and well spaced.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They're not moving, just gazing ahead toward the Japanese lines.’
    • ‘Then breaking the surface, one by one, the swimmers form a new line, a line that charges ahead like an angry serpent.’
    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 advance; in the near future.
      ‘he contemplated the day ahead’
      ‘we have to plan ahead’
      • ‘Tabby is a very talented entertainer and he has bright future ahead on stage.’
      • ‘In fact, I'm seriously impressed at just how many parents, grandparents and other relatives are thinking ahead and planning their family's future.’
      • ‘It's that time when we think about the year ahead and start making plans for the future.’
      • ‘The framework should help public bodies, airport operators and airlines plan ahead for future applications.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, the day ahead is dominated by a massive amount of college homework.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With a beautiful, healthy baby girl to raise and plans to marry, the couple had an exciting future ahead.’
      • ‘Although the couple feared the worst, it went unspoken and they tried to look to the future and plan ahead.’
      • ‘There may be challenges ahead but the future in this sector is certainly looking brighter than for several years.’
      • ‘What steps have been taken, and what's ahead in the near future?’
      • ‘Just ahead, crossing the line, the growing use of profanity on television.’
      • ‘Rachel told the meeting that there is a huge amount of work to be undertaken in the months ahead.’
      • ‘Sometime ahead in future, these images may become invaluable records.’
      • ‘They were making their wedding plans, and had a great future ahead.’
      • ‘But there was still a big future ahead for plastics, in packaging, for example.’
      • ‘Keep optimistic about the future and keep looking ahead.’
      • ‘It is difficult to plan ahead when the future is so uncertain.’
      • ‘Right now, Levski's two champion teams are enjoying a well-deserved break after a job well done and looking ahead to future successes.’
      • ‘It offers a path ahead, a future where there had been only a past.’
      • ‘It looked like it was five years ahead in the future.’
      • ‘But looking ahead to the future, a scenario that we all fear is one in which the administration effectively ceases to function.’
      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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    2. 1.2 In the lead.
      ‘the Bucks were ahead by four’
      ‘he was slightly ahead on points’
      • ‘In Game Seven, the Sox took the lead early and stayed ahead, defeating the Yankees 10-3.’
      • ‘Playing against the wind in the first half, Granlahan still managed to edge ahead and held a four points lead at the interval.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gearoid Nagle then pushed Jades ahead again to lead 44-46 as the game entered the final minute.’
      • ‘Ireland took a handy 18-8 lead into the break and went further ahead within four minutes of the re-start.’
      • ‘A contrary view might emphasize that the market makers have invested vast amounts to stay ahead in the race for information.’
      • ‘First Japan inched ahead to a tenuous lead holding it through the first half of the race.’
      • ‘The Aussies start best and kick ahead to an early lead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Quitting while he was ahead, Shaw led his last big band in 1950.’
      • ‘Robert Allenby took a five-stroke lead to move further ahead after the third round of the Australian Open at Moonah Links near Melbourne.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Taking Italy by surprise the Greeks snuck ahead to a slight lead.’
      • ‘Bootham Cons surged ahead to lead 8-1 but Holgate fought back to 10-10 after 11 ends.’
      • ‘Pak responded with a birdie of her own at the 12th to tie the lead but Sorenstam edged ahead again at 15.’
      • ‘Grange regrouped once more and pulled four points ahead however Palatine pulled back this lead once more thanks mainly to a cracking Moran goal.’
      leading, winning, in the lead, in front, out in front, to the fore, first, coming first
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    3. 1.3 Higher in number, amount, or value than previously.
      ‘profits were slightly ahead’
      • ‘Analysts expect next year's half-year profits to nudge ahead to about £60m from £57m last time.’
      • ‘They are worlds ahead in price, quality and overall value.’
      • ‘Pre-tax profits are likely to race ahead to around £84.9m from £36.9m in 2002.’
      • ‘Profits for calendar 2003 are likely to be puff ahead by around £70m at £2.56 bn.’
      • ‘Trading at its hotels in the US had also improved with profits ahead 20% on the same period last year.’
      • ‘Corporate banking was also very strongly ahead with profits rising by 44 per cent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Markets and share values were moving ahead anyway.’
      • ‘If the balance sheet comes out ahead enough to indicate a decent profit, the comic or in broader terms the company is healthy.’
      • ‘While demand may pick up as the threat of recession recedes, there are doubts that corporate profitability can soar ahead.’
      • ‘Operating profits from the region were 12% ahead on the back of greater efficiency and lower costs.’


  • ahead of

    • 1In front of or before.

      ‘she walked ahead of him along the corridor’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Spot fires broke out on the hills and ridges ahead of the main front, and quickly spread.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We walked down a steep hill, ahead of us the moon shone down on the waterfront.’
      • ‘Paul, wearing long robes, walks ahead of the horsemen and is flanked by two armed guards.’
      • ‘Ferguson stood at all times in front of the dugout, two paces ahead of his entire coaching staff.’
      • ‘Adele walked quickly ahead of them, completely unaware of their friendly playing.’
      • ‘I was walking in Shotley Gate this afternoon and up ahead of me was a lady walking her dog.’
      • ‘Chelsea was, as usual, dancing along the side of the road ahead of them, singing to her idol's tunes.’
      • ‘He began walking back, figuring he was a little way ahead of where he had been earlier.’
      • ‘At night he searched for Estelle in the gardens for a routine stroll and there she was walking ahead of him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But they believed they were protected by a front line of fighters ahead of them.’
      • ‘Some walk ahead of elderly and arthritic dogs, who are forced to struggle to keep up.’
      • ‘She turned back around and broke into a jog to get to the front of the group of people ahead of us.’
      • ‘Blake fired a cross in which had gone too far ahead of his team-mates in the box.’
      • ‘He walked a little ahead of her to his car, and conversation stopped for a moment.’
      • ‘Then a bit later there was this teeny tiny little woman walking ahead of me.’
      • ‘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.’
      in front of, before
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      1. 1.1In store for; awaiting.
        ‘we have a long drive ahead of us’
        • ‘After riding the trains, they still had about a fifteen minute walk ahead of them.’
        • ‘You still have quite a walk ahead of you if you arrive only fifteen or twenty minutes before the play starts.’
        • ‘We had three nights and two days ahead of us to settle in and get to know the ship.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Then I realized he hadn't offered me a ride home so I now had a rather long walk ahead of me.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘With a long drive to Kilkee ahead of me that evening, I opt for starting at Bolus Head and taking it from there.’
        • ‘Thomas and his band have a very busy summer schedule ahead of them including a tour of Scotland in June.’
        • ‘With three or four days off in Spain ahead of me I am beginning to seriously doubt I can finish in time.’
        • ‘We could afford no such luxury, since it was now early afternoon and we had nearly another hour's drive ahead of us.’
        • ‘Michael, who is no stranger to the management of golf teams will have another busy year ahead of him.’
        • ‘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 planned or expected.
        ‘elimination of trade barriers came five years ahead of schedule’
        • ‘The cell company is currently trialling its new service on the Isle of Man ahead of a summer launch.’
        • ‘It was taped in May, so could have been taped two months ahead of the election.’
        • ‘It can often be a captain's duty to gee his team-mates up ahead of games.’
        • ‘Trials are due to start in January ahead of a full commercial launch by the middle of next year.’
        • ‘The primary goal is to bring order ahead of the arrival of a UN force scheduled to take over in June.’
        • ‘It would be nice to have a reminder alarm set a few days ahead of a scheduled meeting.’
        • ‘The final touches are being made to the stores, ahead of their first day of trading.’
        • ‘Several media houses in Trinidad have also interviewed him ahead of his performance.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘She will next undergo psychiatric tests ahead of a trial planned for 2003.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘They were out on a training run ahead of a time trial that was to be the opening stage of the Tour of Germany.’
        • ‘Thousands of new bins are being delivered to homes across Blackburn ahead of a new recycling drive.’
        • ‘Well done, you've come into form at the right time ahead of a busy summer schedule.’
        • ‘The company has started selling a new version of its product ahead of its original schedule.’
        • ‘BT says it will hand over co-location spaces for trial ahead of the original schedule.’
        in advance of, before, earlier than, prior to, previous to
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  • ahead of time

    • In advance.

      • ‘Could the Gulf of Mexico oil spill finally end weeks ahead of the time BP officials say they expect to end it?’
      • ‘One of the best ways to cook is to make foods ahead of time.’
      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; more characteristic of a later age.

      • ‘Wonderful, spooky, synthesizer score - way ahead of its time.’
      • ‘School Principal Mary English pointed out just how innovative and ahead of its time the Council was with its constitution.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yes, lots of lovely plays, but did you know that his embroidery was decades ahead of its time?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 1999, it was ahead of its time; today, it has come into its own.’
      • ‘They heralded the trike as an innovation which was 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.’
      • ‘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.