for·​mer·​ly ˈfȯr-mər-lē How to pronounce formerly (audio)
: at an earlier time : previously
obsolete : just before

Example Sentences

He was formerly a congressman. the newspaper formerly known as “The Newsprint”
Recent Examples on the Web In January the folks behind the Golden Raspberry Awards (as the Razzies are formerly known) apologized and removed child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong from their annual list of nominees. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 11 Mar. 2023 Since 2016, the company Redwire (formerly named Made in Space) has been conducting a variety of experiments using 3D printers on the International Space Station. Ramin Skibba, WIRED, 10 Mar. 2023 In his speech on Sept. 9, King Charles confirmed that William will also take on the title of Prince of Wales, which was formerly held by Charles. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 10 Mar. 2023 The area has also been a draw for breweries in recent years: City Lights, Third Space and Explorium have all opened brewing operations that make full use of the valley's large, formerly industrial buildings. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 10 Mar. 2023 Buckingham Palace announced Friday that the king gave Prince Edward, formerly known as the Earl of Wessex, the title of Duke of Edinburgh to honor the prince's birthday. Elise Brisco, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023 Raytheon Technologies, formerly United Technologies UTX 0.0% , is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. Charles Rotblut, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2023 Mossville, Lousiana, a tiny town just west of Lake Charles that was founded by people who were formerly enslaved, has been historically plagued by manufacturing pollution. Li Cohen, CBS News, 17 Feb. 2023 The opera revolves around her friendship (and possibly a love affair) with Ned, himself an elegant, insightful man who was formerly enslaved. Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of formerly was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near formerly

Cite this Entry

“Formerly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


for·​mer·​ly ˈfȯr-mər-lē How to pronounce formerly (audio)
: at an earlier time : previously

More from Merriam-Webster on formerly

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?