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Going before; preceding.
1. One that precedes another.
a. A preceding occurrence, cause, or event. See Synonyms at cause.
b. antecedents The important events and occurrences in one's early life.
3. antecedents One's ancestors.
4. Grammar The word, phrase, or clause that determines what a pronoun refers to, as the children in The teacher asked the children where they were going.
5. Mathematics The first term of a ratio.
6. Logic The conditional member of a hypothetical proposition.

an′te·ce′dent·ly adv.


pl n
1. ancestry
2. a person's past history
References in classic literature ?
Thus every event has many nearly invariable antecedents, and therefore many antecedents which may be called its cause.
By discarding a claim to knowledge of the ultimate purpose, we shall clearly perceive that just as one cannot imagine a blossom or seed for any single plant better suited to it than those it produces, so it is impossible to imagine any two people more completely adapted down to the smallest detail for the purpose they had to fulfill, than Napoleon and Alexander with all their antecedents.
Such a birth requires, as its antecedents, not only a series of carefully arranged intermarriages, but also a long, continued exercise of frugality and self-control on the part of the would-be ancestors of the coming Equilateral, and a patient, systematic, and continuous development of the Isosceles intellect through many generations.
Bwana, as she insisted upon calling her benefactor, dissuaded her from making the attempt at once by dispatching a head man with a party of blacks to Kovudoo's village with instructions to learn from the old savage how he came into possession of the white girl and as much of her antecedents as might be culled from the black chieftain.
The first difficulty which we had to contend with was the finding of this American's antecedents.
Nothing peculiar about her family antecedents, is there?
I would much rather not have told her anything of my antecedents, but no man could look into the depth of those eyes and refuse her slightest behest.
Manson Mingott's English son-in-law, the banker, and had speedily made himself an important position in the world of affairs; but his habits were dissipated, his tongue was bitter, his antecedents were mysterious; and when Medora Manson announced her cousin's engagement to him it was felt to be one more act of folly in poor Medora's long record of imprudences.
The product of a large store of reading has been here secreted anew for the reader who desires to see, in bird's-eye view, the light and shade of a long and varied period of poetic literature, by way of preparation for Shakespeare, [9] (with a full essay upon whom the volume closes,) explaining Shakespeare, so far as he can be explained by literary antecedents.
It is worthy of yourselves, worthy of the antecedents of the Gun Club; and it cannot fail to make some noise in the world.
At heart no one is prouder of their family and antecedents.
He told with perfect truth how it had come of a little contraband trading, and how he had in time been released from prison, and how he had gone away from those antecedents.