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 for formerly


erstwhile, once, onetime

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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

But SpaceX's rocketry continues to push the limits, especially with tests already beginning for the rocket intended to replace the Falcon Heavy—the Starship, formerly known as the BFR. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "One Year On, the Falcon Heavy's Successful Launch Is Still Incredible," 6 Feb. 2019 Getty Images The world knows that David Beckham is a 43-year-old British soccer star and a hot hubby to Victoria Beckham, formerly known as Posh Spice. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Love Magazine's David Beckham Cover Showing Off His Green Eyeshadow Is Incredible," 9 Jan. 2019 OnePlus says the new Warp Charge 30 charger can refuel the McLaren 6T’s 3700mAh battery up to 50 percent faster than the Fast Charge (formerly Dash Charge) system on other OnePlus phones. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "The most expensive OnePlus phone ever," 11 Dec. 2018 His affiliation with the formerly marginal party has turned it into a political force that’s made tremendous gains in Brazil’s legislature. Jen Kirby, Vox, "4 things to know about Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new far-right president," 29 Oct. 2018 Amazon plans to unveil the cashierless convenience store inside Brookfield Place, formerly known as the World Financial Center, in Manhattan’s Battery Park City neighborhood. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "New York City’s first Amazon Go cashierless store will open near the World Trade Center," 23 Oct. 2018 But the drug formerly known as Accutane also has some serious side effects including, other-worldly dryness, serious warnings about getting pregnant, and a potential relationship to increasing your risk of depression and anxiety. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Woman Shares Before-and-After Photos to Show How Accutane Transformed Her Skin," 27 Sep. 2018 Highlight: Melbourne International Arts Festival The annual event formerly known as Melbourne Festival returns with a grander name (MIAF for short) and a more ambitious remit: to compete with the best arts festivals across the globe. Dan F. Stapleton, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Melbourne in October 2018," 26 Sep. 2018 World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was ejected 11 times during his 17 year NBA career. Joseph Spears, Indianapolis Star, "Metta World Peace ejected from game after punting the ball into the crowd," 13 July 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

16 Feb 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on formerly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with formerly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for formerly

Spanish Central: Translation of formerly

Nglish: Translation of formerly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of formerly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on formerly

What made you want to look up formerly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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