I asked a question on the origin of the word aforementioned. To me, it would seem that this word should be beforementioned instead. Why does it begin with afore-?

Also, does this mean afore can be used as a substitute for before?

  • Did you check any of there words in a dictionary? You'll find afore and before there, and can check the etymology of aforementioned.
    – Hugo
    Oct 23, 2011 at 11:04
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    Afore also forms part of the word aforesaid, and possibly other composites. So far as I know, there are no compound words that use before. Oct 24, 2011 at 13:26
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    @FumbleFingers: beforehand Oct 24, 2011 at 13:39
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    Are you asking why a particular word formation is more popular than the one you feel is more logical? Or are you asking for the definition of "afore"? The first is probably unanswerable and the second is general reference. Oct 24, 2011 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


The OED’s earliest citation is dated 1587, in a work by Sir Philip Sydney. Afore is from Old English on foran, with the second element meaning in front, in advance. In the OED’s words, ‘Afore is now mostly obsolete in literature, its place being taken by before, but it is retained in the Bible and Prayer-book, is common in the dialects generally, as well as in "vulgar" London speech, and in nautical language.’ The earliest occurrence of before predates that of afore, despite its Old English origin, by several centuries.

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