“The invention of the first drivable automobile – a steam-powered motorcar – antedated the invention of the first flyable airplane by over one hundred years.”

As used above, what is the best definition of antedate?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To be a preceding step in the evolution of something
Choice B - To inspire the development of something that comes later
Choice C - To occur before something else in time
Choice D - To be a groundbreaking feat for mankind


Antedate (verb) – to occur before or precede something else; or, less commonly, to “backdate,” or establish that something happened earlier than previously thought

GRE pro tips:

If you know the Latin root ante- means “before,” then it’s easy to figure out that antedate has to do with coming before the date of something else (or the time when something else happens). And in fact, when event A antedates event B, it comes before, or happens earlier than event B. For instance, the invention of carriages antedated the invention of airplanes and your grandfather’s birth antedates your own.

Note that antedate is similar in meaning to the word antecede. Both mean coming before something else. However, if something antecedes something else, there is more of a suggested link (the antecedent is generally a precursor or is vital to the development of the other thing). However, something can antedate another thing, whether or not the two are related.

Example sentences:

“The use of stone stools by early humans antedates the use of bronze tools.”

“In fact, James Polk’s presidency antedate that of Millard Fillmore.”