- ahead of
- ahead ofThis prepositional phrase has been in use since the 18c in the physical sense ‘in front of’ and from the following century in the figurative sense ‘better than, superior to (in quality, performance, etc)’. Its meaning in relation to time dates from the beginning of the 20c with a use by George Bernard Shaw in The Devil's Disciple (III.78: We are some minutes ahead of you already). Shaw is also credited with an early use (in 1934) of the cliché ahead of its (or one's) time (On the Rocks I.219: Women and men who are ahead of their time. They alone can lead the present into the future. They are ghosts from the future).In a development dating from the 1980s, ahead of, with reference to time, has come to mean ‘before’ with the strongly anticipatory notion ‘in preparation for’ or ‘taking account of’
• (Seismic imaging of far-side solar activity allows us to anticipate the appearance of large active regions more than a week ahead of their arrival on the eastern solar limb —Internet website, 2002 [OEC]
• Some ISPs such as Wanadoo are investing in LLU but decline to reveal any significant detail because they don't want to give the game away ahead of a commercial launch —The Register, 2005).This use, which originated in AmE, has a resounding ring of newspaper reports (primarily sport and finance) and is awkward and jargonistic in general usage, where it is unlikely to find much favour.
Modern English usage. 2014.