antecedent - definition and synonyms

noun 

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/ˌæntɪˈsiːd(ə)nt/
singularantecedent
pluralantecedents
  1. 1
    [countable] formal something that happened or existed before something else and is similar to it in some way
  2. 2

    antecedents

    [plural] formal the members of your family who lived a long time ago
  3. 3
    [countable] linguistics the antecedent of a word is the noun or phrase nearer the beginning of the sentence that it refers to. In the sentenceI threw the keys to him and he caught them’, ‘keys’ is the antecedent of ‘them’.