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From Middle English avauncen, avancen, borrowed from Anglo-Norman avauncer, avancer, avancier (French avancer), from Vulgar Latin *abantiāre, from Late Latin abante, from Latin ab + ante (before). ⟨d⟩ added in analogy to Latin ad- (cf. Middle French advancer). Compare avaunt.


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advance (third-person singular simple present advances, present participle advancing, simple past and past participle advanced)

  1. To promote or advantage.
    1. To help the progress of (something); to further. [from 12th c.]
      • 2018, Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian, 26 January:
        Some see it as in effect the end of the Syrian uprising that began with peaceful protests against Assad’s police state in 2011, with opposition fighters working to advance Turkey’s interests at the expense of the revolution’s goals.
    2. To raise (someone) in rank or office; to prefer, to promote. [from 14th c.]
  2. To move forward in space or time.
    1. To move or push (something) forwards, especially forcefully. [from 14th c.]
      • 1667, John Milton, “(please specify the book number)”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
        Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, / That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance / Thy miscreated front athwart my way / To yonder gates?
    2. To make (something) happen at an earlier time or date; to bring forward, to hasten. [form 15th c.]
    3. (intransitive) To move forwards; to approach. [from 16th c.]
      • 1829, Marchioness of Lemington, Rosina, or the Virtuous Country Maid, Ninth ed.:
        I advanced towards him step by step, stopping sometimes for fear of waking him.
      • 2003, C.J. Shane, editor, China (The History of Nations)‎[1], Greenhaven Press, →ISBN, LCCN 2002029939, OCLC 50441312, page 67:
        This army recaptured Wu-chʻang, on the right bank of the Yangtze, in 1854, reached Chen-chiang four years later, advanced to Chiu-chiang and threatened Nanking.
    4. To provide (money or other value) before it is due, or in expectation of some work; to lend. [from 16th c.]
      • 1869, Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn:
        “I had intended to ask you to advance me a hundred pounds,” said Phineas.
      • 1871, James William Gilbart, The Principles and Practice of Banking:
        On the urgent representations of several parties of the first importance in the City of London, the bank advanced 120,000l. to the Governor and Company of the Copper Miners […].
    5. To put forward (an idea, argument etc.); to propose. [from 16th c.]
    6. (intransitive) To make progress; to do well, to succeed. [from 16th c.]
      • 2014, Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian, 24 April:
        Earlier the caller said men were more likely to be in senior positions. Clegg says that's partly because the current maternity leave arrangements make it difficult for women to advance in the workplace.
    7. (intransitive) To move forward in time; to progress towards completion. [from 16th c.]
      • 1927, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes:
        I can promise you that you will feel even less humorous as the evening advances.
  3. To raise, be raised.
    1. (transitive, now archaic) To raise; to lift or elevate. [from 14th c.]
    2. To raise or increase (a price, rate). [from 14th c.]
      • 1924, The Times, 16 July:
        In February last […] bakers advanced the price of bread sold over the counter in London from 8d. to 8½d. per quartern loaf.
    3. To increase (a number or amount). [from 16th c.]
    4. (intransitive) To make a higher bid at an auction. [from 18th c.]



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


advance (plural advances)

  1. A forward move; improvement or progression.
    an advance in health or knowledge
    an advance in rank or office
  2. An amount of money or credit, especially given as a loan, or paid before it is due; an advancement.
    • 1917, James Joyce, Dubliners (Counterparts)
      Could he ask the cashier privately for an advance? No, the cashier was no good, no damn good: he wouldn't give an advance.
    • 1780, John Jay, letter dated November 21
      I shall, with pleasure, make the necessary advances.
  3. An addition to the price; rise in price or value.
    an advance on the prime cost of goods
  4. (in the plural) An opening approach or overture, now especially of an unwelcome or sexual nature.
    • 1708, Jonathan Swift, The Sentiments of a Church of England Man with Respect to Religion and Government
      For, if it were of any use to recall matters of fact, what is more notorious, than that prince's applying himself first to the church of England? and upon their refusal to fall in with his measures, making the like advances to the dissenters of all kinds, who readily and almost universally complied with him
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot, chapter 4:
      As the sun fell, so did our spirits. I had tried to make advances to the girl again; but she would have none of me, and so I was not only thirsty but otherwise sad and downhearted.
    • 1923, Walter de la Mare, Seaton's Aunt
      I felt vaguely he was a sneak, and remained quite unmollified by advances on his side, which, in a boy's barbarous fashion, unless it suited me to be magnanimous, I haughtily ignored.
    • 1945, Tom Ronan, Strangers on the Ophir, Sydney: Angus and Robertson, page 59:
      [A]nd Rosamund though quite a genteelly brought up young lady had responded to his advances by slapping his face.




advance (comparative more advance, superlative most advance)

  1. Completed before necessary or a milestone event.
    He made an advance payment on the prior shipment to show good faith.
  2. Preceding.
    The advance man came a month before the candidate.
  3. Forward.
    The scouts found a site for an advance base.

Derived terms[edit]