Prior to the existence of, or logically preceding, something else; specifically (of a universal) prior to the particular. Later also: of, relating to, or designating a philosophical theory which holds that the universal is logically prior to, and capable of existing independently of, the particular. Also as adverb Compare post rem , "in re".
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John William Donaldson (1811–1861), philologist. From post-classical Latin ante rem before the thing from classical Latin ante before + rem, accusative of rēs.