previous and prior imply existing or occurring earlier, but prior often adds an implication of greater importance.
a child from a previous marriage
a prior obligation
former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter.
the former name of the company
anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order.
the anterior lobe of the brain
Examples of previous in a Sentence
She has a child from a previous marriage.
The two characters met in a previous chapter.
the previous owners of the house
Recent Examples on the WebThat’s down one spot and 11 points from the previous week.—Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Dec. 2023 In my two previous films there was a lot of nature and the forest.—Martin Dale, Variety, 3 Dec. 2023 In a review, the F.A.A. acknowledged that fatigue might have been a factor, given that the controller’s schedule had included two overtime shifts in each of the previous three weeks.—Sydney Ember, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2023 This is slightly down from the previous week, when 9,914 tests were recorded and compared to last year when 16,067 positive tests were recorded during the same period.—Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 2 Dec. 2023 Cohen said the agency has also been tracking other respiratory illnesses accelerating in recent weeks ahead of COVID-19's rise, in line with previous fall and winter virus seasons.—Alexander Tin, CBS News, 1 Dec. 2023 That’s a 15 percent improvement on the show’s previous same-day season high of 5.27 million viewers for the Nov. 13 episode.—Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Dec. 2023 Season 6 will be packaged differently than its previous seasons.—Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 1 Dec. 2023 That’s significant because in four previous seasons together, keeping both available has been this team’s biggest hurdle.—Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'previous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Latin praevius leading the way, from prae- pre- + via way — more at way