anterior

The anterior of anything is the front — in humans, it's the area toward the head of the body, opposite of the posterior. Anterior can also refer to something that came before, as in "anterior to the discovery of vaccines."

The word anterior is one of those words that are spelled the same in English today as they were in their Latin origins. It still has the same meaning — "former" or "before." You can remember that by remembering that the prefix ante- means "before." Emily Dickinson once wrote, "Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath."

Definitions of anterior
  1. adjective
    of or near the head end or toward the front plane of a body
    Synonyms:
    frontal
    belonging to the front part
    frontal
    of or adjacent to the forehead or frontal bone
    prefrontal
    anterior to a frontal structure
    front
    relating to or located in the front
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    posterior
    located at or near or behind a part or near the end of a structure
    back, hind, hinder
    located at or near the back of an animal
    caudal
    situated in or directed toward the part of the body from which the tail arises
    retral
    at or near or toward the posterior
    back
    related to or located at the back
    show more antonyms...
  2. noun
    a tooth situated at the front of the mouth
    “his malocclusion was caused by malposed anteriors
    synonyms: front tooth
    see moresee less
    types:
    bucktooth
    a large projecting front tooth
    type of:
    tooth
    hard bonelike structures in the jaws of vertebrates; used for biting and chewing or for attack and defense
  3. adjective
    earlier in time
    synonyms: prior
    antecedent
    preceding in time or order
Word Family
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