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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.