prior

Generally you should eat dinner prior to brushing your teeth. Use the adjective prior for things that exist earlier in time or that happen first in time or order.

This is a formal word that is often used in legal language. A prior claim is a person's right to something that is considered more important or valuable because it came first. If you're looking for a less formal synonym, choose the word previous. Prior is from a Latin word with the same spelling.

Definitions of prior
  1. adjective
    earlier in time
    synonyms: anterior
    antecedent
    preceding in time or order
  2. noun
    the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is next below the abbot
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    type of:
    superior
    the head of a religious community
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