for·​mer·​ly | \ ˈfȯr-mər-lē How to pronounce formerly (audio) , 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

The company -- formerly known as WeWork Co. -- bought its current name from Neumann and McKelvey for $5.9 million, one of several arrangements that has drawn scrutiny over the years. Sophie Alexander, Fortune, "As WeWork’s IPO Uncertainty Grows, Its Founder’s Projected Net Worth Shrinks," 11 Sep. 2019 The investigators also accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist alliance formerly known as Nusra Front that is the dominant armed group in Idlib, of firing rockets indiscriminately and killing civilians. NBC News, "U.N. investigators link U.S., Syrian and Russian forces to war crimes," 11 Sep. 2019 The longtime entertainment industry executive helped turn around the company formerly known as SFX and created by businessman Robert F.X. Sillerman. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Randy Phillips Steps Down as CEO of LiveStyle, Shifts Focus to Managing Boy Band Why Don't We: Exclusive," 5 Sep. 2019 Stankey officially took the reins at WarnerMedia in the summer of 2018, when AT&T's purchase of the company formerly known as Time Warner took effect. Brian Stelter, CNN, "AT&T makes WarnerMedia boss John Stankey the presumptive successor to its CEO," 3 Sep. 2019 Construction of the new Enrique Tomas location is currently underway at the Henderson Avenue site formerly occupied by Mesero restaurant, at 2822 N. Henderson Ave. Dallas News, "Spain's famous Jamón Ibérico store chooses Dallas for its first U.S. location," 21 Aug. 2019 There are palaces, there are cottages, and then there is the colonial-style two-story house that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, formerly occupied. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Can Now Buy Meghan Markle’s Former L.A. Home—for $1.8 Million!," 5 Aug. 2019 She was hired last month to be executive director of the Boston Police Activities League, formerly known as the Boston Police Athletics League., "Friday the 13th? It didn’t hold back new MullenLowe president," 29 Aug. 2019 The Magnolia was formerly known as the East County Performing Arts Center. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A magnolia grows in El Cajon," 28 Aug. 2019

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

14 Sep 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 How to pronounce formerly (audio) \

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 spread over or through

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