Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • prep. Previous to; before.
  • conj. Rather than; before.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • prep. Before; sooner than.
  • n. Obsolete form of ear..

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prep. Before; sooner than.
  • prep. Rather than.
  • transitive v. To plow. [Obs.] See ear, v. t.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Early; soon.
  • Before; formerly.
  • Before, in respect of time.
  • Before; sooner than.
  • n. An obsolete form of ear.
  • An obsolete form of ear.

Etymologies

Middle English er, from Old English ǣr; see ayer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ere, from Old English ǣr. (adverb, conjunction, & preposition), from Proto-Germanic *airiz comparative of Proto-Germanic *airi (“early”), from Proto-Indo-European *áyeri (“day, morning”) (compare Avestan 𐬀𐬫𐬀𐬭 (ayar, "day"), Gk. ἠέριος (ēérios, "at daybreak"), see also era). The adverb erstwhile retains the Old English superlative ǣrest ("earliest"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.