yes·​ter·​year | \ ˈye-stər-ˌyir How to pronounce yesteryear (audio) \

Definition of yesteryear

1 : last year
2 : time gone by especially : the recent past

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Other Words from yesteryear

yesteryear adverb

Word History of Yesteryear

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan is the refrain of a famous poem by François Villon, translated as “But where are the snows of yesteryear?” The line is understood to express a melancholy nostalgia.

The translation was by the English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Both the French antan and yesteryear originally simply meant “last year,” but today their meaning has broadened to “time gone by.”

Examples of yesteryear in a Sentence

the simple games of yesteryear that kept children entertained for hours

Recent Examples on the Web

Hitting the target: A long crocheted white dress with slits for arms like a yesteryear mantle, over a sheer white skirt. Colleen Barry, Fox News, "Milan Fashion: Arbesser embraces sustainability," 19 Sep. 2018 Tourists still come, but a lazy stroll through yesteryear has a lot of modern-day touchscreen competition. CBS News, "Roadside America: A tiny slice of Americana," 3 June 2018 Graham/Getty Images With many passengers focusing on inexpensive fares, however, many long-haul flights no longer offer the kind of international travel experience that was common in yesteryear. Robert Wall, WSJ, "The Last 747: Airlines Dump the Jumbo Jet, Transforming International Travel," 29 Dec. 2018 Unlike in yesteryear, when there were three nightly newscasts and two local newspapers, the media today is fragmented, competitive, algorithmic. Ezra Klein, Vox, "When Twitter users hear out the other side, they become more polarized," 18 Oct. 2018 Ellia Kassoff is chief executive of Leaf Brands, which has revived several brands from yesteryear. Annie Gasparro, WSJ, "Oreo Competitor Makes Federal Case Out of ‘Cutthroat’ Cookie Rivalry," 17 Jan. 2019 The bull case of yesteryear didn’t play out for Bristol-Myers shareholders, but Thursday’s selloff gives another opportunity for those who want to try again. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Bristol-Myers and Celgene: Side Effects Will Be Temporary," 3 Jan. 2019 It’s eye-catching and another ode to the neighborhood’s yesteryears. Michael Candelaria,, "College Park Neighborhood Guide," 21 June 2018 The occasion seemed to lack the pep, zip and kick of yesteryear’s opening day. Johnny Miller, San Francisco Chronicle, "US ports closed to honor MLK," 28 Mar. 2018

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

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for yesteryear

yesterday + year

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Dictionary Entries near yesteryear





yes, thanks



Statistics for yesteryear

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for yesteryear

The first known use of yesteryear was in 1870

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More Definitions for yesteryear


yes·​ter·​year | \ ˈye-stər-ˌyir How to pronounce yesteryear (audio) \

Kids Definition of yesteryear

: a time in the past

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More from Merriam-Webster on yesteryear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yesteryear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yesteryear

Spanish Central: Translation of yesteryear

Britannica English: Translation of yesteryear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on yesteryear

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


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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