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antecedent (noun) a thing that happens earlier than, and may have influence on, a later happening; people of the earlier generations of a family; ancestors; (grammar) a word to which the following word refers.

A person's background (circumstances of birth, education, etc.,) influencing his behavior, thinking, etc., is their antecedent(s). The friendship between two persons may be due to the occasions on which either has been anxious to help the other. So their friendship has its antecedent(s) in their desire to be of mutual help. The love and the subsequent marriage between a couple may have its antecedent(s) in their coming together on a number of occasions, their having the same interests, etc.. A person's ancestors are his antecedents. A person of German origin has German antecedents. In grammar, a word to which the following word, usually a pronoun refers is its antecedent. In the sentence, 'He who is content is rich,' 'he' is the antecedent of 'who'.

  • The invention of the airplane has its antecedent in the human desire to fly like birds, and to be able to cross the seas fast.
  • Judy's antecedents have been traced to a nine hundred year old family which lived in Italy.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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