yes·​ter·​year ˈye-stər-ˌyir How to pronounce yesteryear (audio)
: last year
: time gone by
especially : the recent past
yesteryear adverb

Did you know?

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 Aioli Bodega Española Midtown is Sacramento’s hub for cutting-edge culinary innovation, yet still hosts a few restaurants that straddle modernity while taking inspiration from yesteryear. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 29 Feb. 2024 Taylor Swift and Beyoncé might be making history with their economy-boosting tours, but one pop act from yesteryear is raking in millions a week without ever stepping foot onstage. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 5 Sep. 2023 Add a touch of yesteryear to your Easter celebration with these old-school decorations, from store-bought to hand-crafted. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Feb. 2024 Song portrays no passion for yesteryear’s Korean home or for her current American situ. Armond White, National Review, 8 Dec. 2023 Throughout the piece, Rodrigo lists several other influences, both of today and yesteryear. Henry Chandonnet, Peoplemag, 7 July 2023 While the swing skirts of the yesteryear were replaced with low-rise, sequined Bermuda shorts and signature tweed ensembles, the evening felt sublimely timeless. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, 7 Sep. 2023 The Chia Pet has occasionally been described as an artifact of a now-chintzy cultural yesteryear. Alex Traub, New York Times, 30 June 2023 Thankfully, in general, today's options are much more compact than the record players of yesteryear., 15 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yesteryear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


yesterday + year

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of yesteryear was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near yesteryear

Cite this Entry

“Yesteryear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


yes·​ter·​year ˈyes-tər-ˌyi(ə)r How to pronounce yesteryear (audio)
: last year
: the recent past

More from Merriam-Webster on yesteryear

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!