ETYM Latin antecedens, -entis, p. pr. of antecedere: cf. French antécédent.
Preceding in time or order; SYN. preceding.
Before in time; prior; Music, subject of fugue stated in first part; Grammar, previous word, especially one to which pronoun, etc., refers; pl. personal history; ancestry.
ETYM Cf. French antécédent.
1. A preceding occurrence or cause or event.
2. Anything that precedes something similar in time; SYN. forerunner.
3. The referent of an anaphor; a phrase or clause that is referred to by an anaphoric pronoun.
(grammar) In grammar, a word or phrase referred to by a substitute, typically a pronoun substituting for a noun. For example, in the sentence “Jane left early and John followed her”, Jane is the antecedent of the pronoun her.
When the antecedent of a pronoun is not clear, the meaning is often ambiguous. In the example: “He wants to resign his seat, but the prime minister will not accept it,” the grammatical antecedent of the pronoun it is the noun seat, but the prime minister is not being offered the seat. The noun resignation needs to be included in the sentence: “He has offered his resignation but the prime minister will not accept it.”