for·​mer·​ly | \ˈfȯr-mər-lē, ˈfȯr-mə-\

Definition of formerly 

1 : at an earlier time : previously

2 obsolete : just before

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Synonyms & Antonyms for formerly


afore [chiefly dialect], ahead, already, antecedently, anteriorly, before, beforehand, earlier, preliminarily, previously


after, afterward (or afterwards), later

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Examples of formerly in a Sentence

He was formerly a congressman. the newspaper formerly known as “The Newsprint”

Recent Examples on the Web

The restaurant will take over the 6,700-square-foot building formerly occupied by Famous Dave’s. Anna Muckerman,, "New restaurant Jose Tequilas Mexican Grill and Cantina coming to Owings Mills Square," 13 July 2018 Keystone Bar and Grill's Mac Shack Work is underway at the new Keystone Bar and Grill's Mac Shack at 5655 Harrison Ave., the space formerly occupied by Tom and Chee. Jennie Key,, "Lots of options: West Siders have eat-out options and more are coming," 13 July 2018 Hill, who is married with five children, formerly served four terms as Elkhart County prosecutor. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "GOP staffer speaks on groping allegations against Attorney General Curtis Hill," 12 July 2018 Hogan, a 1982 Reagan appointee, is widely respected, having formerly served as chief district judge and chairman of the executive committee for the U.S. Judicial Conference. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, "‘There have to be limits’: Lawyers for Guantanamo inmates challenge lifetime imprisonment without charge," 11 July 2018 Hammer, who has been with Marist since 1973 and formerly served as an English teacher, academic dean and principal, said science was important for the school both educationally and religiously. Janice Neumann, Daily Southtown, "Marist High School plans to turn monastery into science labs, planetarium," 27 June 2018 Nacke formerly served as an assistant public defender and handled murder cases for indigent people. Stephen Hudak,, "Circuit Judge Mark Nacke, advocate for Lake County's Veteran Treatment Court, to step down July 31," 21 June 2018 Leclerc formerly served as Director of Sports and Operations for the Bay State Games; Matejek was Manager of Property and Guest Services at Yankee Candle Company's flagship store in South Deerfield, Mass. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 19 June 2018 The town square project includes drainage engineering, and preservation of the Avenue B annex which formerly served as a fire station and library branch. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Plans for Katy Town Square advance," 18 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of formerly

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for formerly

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for formerly

The first known use of formerly was in 1534

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More Definitions for formerly



English Language Learners Definition of formerly

: at an earlier time : in the past


for·​mer·​ly | \ˈfȯr-mər-lē \

Kids Definition of formerly

: at an earlier time They were formerly friends.

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