1. situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to posterior).
  2. going before in time or sequence; preceding; earlier: events anterior to the outbreak of war.
  3. Linguistics. (in distinctive feature analysis) articulated in the region extending from the alveolar ridge to the lips; alveolar, dental, or labial.
  4. (in animals and embryos) pertaining to or toward the head or forward end of the body.
  5. (in humans) pertaining to or toward the front plane of the body, equivalent to the ventral surface of quadrupeds.
  6. Botany. on the front side and away from the main axis, as the lower lip of a flower.


  1. situated at or towards the front
  2. earlier in time
  3. zoology of or near the head end
  4. botany (of part of a flower or leaf) situated farthest away from the main stem

1610s, Latin, literally “former,” comparative of ante “before” (see ante). Related: Anteriority.


  1. Placed before or in front.
  2. Occurring before in time; earlier.
  3. Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another; ventral.
  4. Near the head or rostral end of certain embryos.


  1. The front surface of the body.
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