Definition of beforehand in US 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.’
    • ‘Unless you've been fully briefed beforehand, you haven't a clue what they expect of you.’
    • ‘It was clear to me beforehand that there had been quite a few changes made.’
    • ‘I don't recall people being asked beforehand if these events were wanted in the first place.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A blank version of my presentation will be going up just beforehand for people to make notes.’
    • ‘They had been advising stores to remove affected products for several days beforehand.’
    • ‘Each walk has a different leader, is well organised beforehand and lasts between an hour and an hour and half.’
    • ‘Sensing it might be busy, I took the precaution of ringing beforehand to book a table.’
    • ‘But the seats had been booked up beforehand, and most of them weren't going to get in.’
    • ‘Police want to speak to anyone who witnessed the crash or who saw the motorcycle 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.’
    • ‘There was a meal prepared under the direction of the famous chef, and he addressed us beforehand.’
    • ‘So, when I go by plane, I'm careful not to eat too much beforehand, to make space for a tasty meal.’
    • ‘Adam and I had a bit of time to waste beforehand, so we just walked up and down Newtown for a while.’
    • ‘We were warned beforehand that more than half of the time would be spent on the road.’
    • ‘In future, only community groups who make appointments beforehand will be allowed in.’
    • ‘I was nervous beforehand, but I walked up to you and you smiled at me and that totally settled my nerves.’
    • ‘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.

      • ‘The insurgents entered the City by Lud Gate; but the Government had been beforehand with them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I cut up along behind the hedge to be beforehand with you.’
      • ‘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.