quon·​dam | \ ˈkwän-dəm How to pronounce quondam (audio) , -ˌdam \

Definition of quondam

: former, sometime a quondam friend

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Looking for an unusual and creative way to say "former"? "Quondam" (which came to English in the 16th century from Latin quondam, meaning "at one time" or "formerly") certainly fits the bill. Or maybe you'd prefer one of its synonyms: "whilom," "ci-devant" or "preterit." Or you could really go crazy with "umquhile," a word that is extremely rare even in its more natural Scots English setting. "Quondam" itself isn't exactly ubiquitous, but it's used more than any of the other words above. If you're looking for something a bit more pedestrian, you might try yet another synonym: "erstwhile." Despite its wonderfully archaic flavor, "erstwhile" is a highly favored alternative.

Examples of quondam in a Sentence

a quondam oil baron now living comfortably in retirement
Recent Examples on the Web By coincidence, the same day that Reichstag burned, Einstein wrote to his quondam mistress, Margarete Lenbach. Thomas Levenson, The Atlantic, "The Scientist and the Fascist," 9 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quondam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quondam

1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quondam

Latin, at one time, formerly, from quom, cum when; akin to Latin qui who — more at who

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The first known use of quondam was in 1539

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Cite this Entry

“Quondam.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quondam. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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