here·​to·​fore | \ ˈhir-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce heretofore (audio) , ˌhir-tə-ˈfȯr\

Definition of heretofore

: up to this time : hitherto heretofore unimaginable possibilities I tell you now what we have heretofore kept secret from you— A. C. Whitehead

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Examples of heretofore in a Sentence

Heretofore her writing has never displayed such depth of feeling. This technology has created heretofore unimaginable possibilities.

Recent Examples on the Web

Ophelia’s heretofore dear familial relationships are neglected in favor of pulpy romance and scenes with the queen and the new apothecary/witch character (both played by Naomi Watts). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Ophelia’ zeroes in on Shakepeare’s fatal femme," 4 July 2019 With the arrival of Roger Ailes, a world of heretofore upstanding devotees to the highest journalistic principles had all been brought to their knees, forced to cast off every qualm of conscience. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘The Loudest Voice’ Review: A Fox in the Hen House," 27 June 2019 This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. National Geographic, "What is Juneteenth—and what does it celebrate?," 19 June 2019 The authors of the new report, which was primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health, set out to better explain the effects of white coat hypertension, which has heretofore been very mysterious to the medical community. Maggie O'neill,, "What is White Coat Hypertension? New Study Links the Condition to Increased Risk of Heart Trouble," 11 June 2019 For there is certainly no barrier to an infinite number of women clicking the cobalt-blue on their screens, or to women availing themselves of the same postal address that so many more men have heretofore copied down. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 The big-ticket item in Apple's new macOS release is likely to be the project heretofore codenamed Marzipan. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote next week," 31 May 2019 And other heretofore practically unknown-to-Seattle dishes must be taste-tested, including, in the dumpling department, both pelmeni ($10) and vareniki ($9). Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "Feels like family: Seattle’s Dacha Diner might be your new favorite place," 29 Mar. 2019 Aesthetics, heretofore largely ignored in the elder-tech industry, will likely become central. Joseph F. Coughlin And Luke Yoquinto, WSJ, "Technology for Older People Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly," 14 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heretofore.' 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 heretofore

13th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for heretofore

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for heretofore

The first known use of heretofore was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for heretofore



English Language Learners Definition of heretofore

formal : until this time : before now


here·​to·​fore | \ ˈhir-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce heretofore (audio) \

Kids Definition of heretofore

: up to this time Our school has heretofore never closed.

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More from Merriam-Webster on heretofore

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heretofore

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heretofore

Spanish Central: Translation of heretofore

Nglish: Translation of heretofore for Spanish Speakers

Comments on heretofore

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


something desired as essential

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