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erstwhile

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adverb erst·while \ˈərst-ˌ(h)wī(-ə)l\

Definition of erstwhile

  1. :  in the past :  formerly cultures, erstwhile unknown to each other — Robert Plank

erstwhile was our Word of the Day on 05/10/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of erstwhile in a Sentence

  1. there's now a store where erstwhile lay green and pleasant pastures

Did You Know?

The adverb erstwhile has been part of English since the 16th century, but it is formed from two words that are much older. It comes from the Old English words ær, meaning "early," and hwīl, which has much the same meaning as the modern word while. (The English word ere, meaning "before," is also descendant of ær.) The adjective erstwhile, as in erstwhile enemies, joined the language around 1900.

First Known Use of erstwhile

1569


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erstwhile

adjective erst·while

Definition of erstwhile

  1. :  former, previous erstwhile enemies

Examples of erstwhile in a Sentence

  1. my erstwhile friend ignored me when I ran into her at the mall

Recent Examples of erstwhile from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erstwhile'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of erstwhile

1903


ERSTWHILE Defined for English Language Learners

erstwhile

adjective

Definition of erstwhile for English Language Learners

  • : in the past



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to become worse as time passes

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