What Does Your Reputation Precedes You Mean?

Your Reputation Precedes You Meaning

Definition: People know about you before meeting you.

Origin of Your Reputation Precedes You

Precede means to come before, and reputation means the beliefs or opinions held about someone. Therefore, this expression is fairly literal.

If your reputation precedes you, it means people have heard things about your before they actually meet you. These things can be positive or negative. They can also be true or false for that matter. Sometimes, people’s reputations are built upon gossip and rumors, so it is only after meeting someone that he or she can correct the record about his or her reputation.

This phrase became popular in the latter half of the 1900s. It can have a negative or positive connotation.

Examples of Your Reputation Precedes You

 reputation precedes you definition

A man is introducing his best friend to his other friend, Kira.

Dan: Kira, this is my best friend, Patrick.

Kira: Hi, Patrick, it’s nice to finally meet you.

Patrick: It’s nice to meet you too. I’m sorry we are late. We were driving here, and we saw a little old lady whose car had broken down. We stopped to help.

Kira: That doesn’t surprise me. Dan already told me all about how kind and helpful you are. Your reputation precedes you.

Patrick: Well, I’m glad that Dan speaks so highly of me.

Dan: I didn’t tell her any of bad parts of your personality, but she’ll figure those out herself as we hang out today.

define reputation preceding youThe following example involves two women discussing the new priest who will be starting at their church next Sunday.

Gertrude: I can’t believe we’re getting this new priest.

Ruby: Why do you say that?

Gertrude: His reputation precedes him. I heard that he is very boring, and that he doesn’t do very much to help the poor. I’m not sure he’s a real priest at all.

Ruby: Well, I hope that’s not true. We should wait and meet him before deciding though.

Gertrude: I suppose you are right.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a being careful not to complain about your job, even on an airplane, because people might find out about it.

  • It is easy to fall into the delusion that what happens at thirty-five thousand feet won’t have any impact once you hit the ground. That’s false! Keep your counsel, no matter where you are, and remember that your reputation precedes you now and always will. –Forbes

This excerpt is about a basketball player who other athletes knew was talented, even before playing against him.

  • You can see by the way they were guarding him, his reputation precedes him. People know he can put the ball in the basket. The defense was shifting to him. We felt we needed a threat from the perimeter to go alongside James.” –Houston Chronicle


The phrase your reputation precedes you is another way to say I’ve never met you, but I already know all about you, from the opinions of other people I’ve heard.