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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.



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.]
      • 1611, The Bible, Authorized (King James) Version, Esther III.1:
        After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
      • (Can we date this quote by Prescott and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
        This, however, was in time evaded by the monarchs, who advanced certain of their own retainers to a level with the ancient peers of the land []
  2. To move forward in space or time.
    1. To move or push (something) forwards, especially forcefully. [from 14th c.]
      • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
        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.]
      • 1820, Walter Scott, The Monastery:
        "[S]in and sorrow it were, considering the hardships of this noble and gallant knight, no whit mentioning or weighing those we ourselves have endured, if we were now either to advance or retard the hour of reflection beyond the time when the viands are fit to be set before us."
    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.
    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.]
      • 1711, Alexander Pope, An Essay on Crticism:
        Some ne'er advance a Judgement of their own, / But catch the spreading notion of the Town […].
    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.
    • #* (Can we date this quote by Jay and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      I shall, with pleasure, make the necessary advances.
    • #* (Can we date this quote by Kent and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The account was made up with intent to show what advances had been made.
  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, especially of an unwelcome or sexual nature.
    • #* (Can we date this quote by Jonathan Swift and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      [He] made the like advances to the dissenters.
    • 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.



advance (comparative more advance, superlative most advance)

  1. completed before need 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]