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antecedent /ˌæntəˈsiːdənt/  

  • noun
    plural -ents
    [count] grammar :a word or phrase that is represented by another word (such as a pronoun)
    John is the antecedent of the pronoun him in Mary saw John and thanked him.
    [count] formal :something that came before something else and may have influenced or caused it
    antecedents [plural] formal :the people in a family who lived in past times
    formal :earlier in time
    These antecedent [=priorpreviousevents affected the outcome of the war.