here·to·fore | \ˈhir-tə-ˌfȯr, 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

Michael Bloomberg, heretofore the Hamlet of American presidential politics, has seriously considered, and ultimately rejected, running for the White House at least twice, in 2008 and 2016. Logan Jenkins,, "For true moderates, New Yorker tops Dem dream ticket," 9 July 2018 Clicking in bets from a mobile phone with its promise of immediate reinforcement, win or lose, will drive gambling behavior to heretofore unimaginable heights. WSJ, "Being Able to Gamble 24/7 Means Increased Gambling," 10 June 2018 Schoop is the sixth hitter to occupy the leadoff spot his season, which is also a reminder that the Orioles have heretofore not been able to develop a true leadoff man since Brian Roberts. Peter Schmuck,, "Schmuck: Orioles have played one-third of season and still seem to have no idea where they're headed," 30 May 2018 On Wednesday evening, for a few brief, glorious moments, Rudy Giuliani accomplished a task that media observers had heretofore assumed to be impossible: transforming Sean Hannity into a real, if involuntary, journalist. Jay Willis, GQ, "What the Hell Is Rudy Giuliani Doing?," 3 May 2018 Sunshine and exercise are great and all, but one of the joys of the season is that some of those heretofore indoor activities can be taken to the outside world. Wired Staff, WIRED, "12 Books You Must Read This Summer," 25 May 2018 Now, though, the heretofore casual piece has received a big-night-out makeover thanks to Bella Hadid. Alexandra Gurvitch, Vogue, "Can You Wear Bike Shorts to the Club?," 23 May 2018 But this edition will be the first time that Le Guin’s sprawling epic, heretofore known collectively as the Earthsea Cycle, will be collected in one place. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "With The Books of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantasy epic gets the treatment it deserves," 15 May 2018 Christian Artuso, an ornithologist with Bird Studies Canada, tells the magazine that this heretofore unseen behavior is the first documentation of polygyny (a male mating with two or more females) recorded for great horned owls as a species. Saryn Chorney, ajc, "'Unheard of' polygamous owl family consists of two moms, one dad and pair of owlets," 3 May 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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Time Traveler for heretofore

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

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English Language Learners Definition of heretofore

: until this time : before now


here·to·fore | \ˈhir-tə-ˌfȯr \

Kids Definition of heretofore

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

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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).


lying above or upon

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