ˈhaz-ˌbin How to pronounce has-been (audio)
 chiefly British  -ˌbēn
: one that has passed the peak of effectiveness or popularity

Examples of has-been in a Sentence

now a has-been, the actor's been reduced to appearing on a third-rate reality show
Recent Examples on the Web Essentially, when Wags (David Costabile) begins chatting with some old pals and tries to pitch them on bringing some money to Michael Prince Capital, he's treated like a has-been, like a relic of the past. Kyle Fowle, EW.com, 28 Aug. 2023 Detroit’s auto industry already labors under the Wall Street stigma of being an old economy has-been, whose first instinct when dealing with disruptive technology is to shut it down, as GM famously did in the late 90s with the EV1 electric vehicle. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 20 Nov. 2023 The Lakers don’t look right either, and their search for answers has practically forced them to place their trust in a 24-year-old has-been — or never-was, depending on the perspective. Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 One part has-been, one part up-and-comer, the Lancashire resort is an effective choice for his appealing new crime thriller about the bewilderment of grief and the plusses of partnership. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2023 Bennett — a star in the 1950s, a has-been by the 1970s — would soon become the living embodiment of the Great American Songbook for the MTV generation. James Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 21 July 2023 But as rock-and-roll swept over popular culture in the late 1960s, Mr. Bennett came to be seen as a has-been. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, 21 July 2023 Trump has found his first real political momentum in years Before this weekend, Trump was viewed as a has-been. James Pindell, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Mar. 2023 Before becoming a cable news star (and then, via Jon Stewart, a cable news has-been and then a star again), Carlson was a fairly typical Beltway media type. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 13 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'has-been.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of has-been was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near has-been

Cite this Entry

“Has-been.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/has-been. Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: one that has passed the peak of ability, power, or popularity

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