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 Mortstedt’s model for the hotel riffs on the ‘50s, imbuing the property with the nostalgia of seaside resorts of yesteryear. Dallas News, "The secret is out: Bequia’s idyllic setting beckons travelers to the Caribbean," 3 Feb. 2020 Many are drawn by a nostalgic allure for yesteryear, visiting Soviet-era resorts that feel frozen in time. Washington Post, "In breakaway Abkhazia, a loophole for North Korean workers amid beaches and Soviet relics," 13 Oct. 2019 The layout features historic Napa Valley rail yards and mills of yesteryear, reflecting the industrial and pre-wine agricultural roots of the region. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tiny railroaders battle with state Expo over Napa’s past, future," 7 Apr. 2018 Truth be known, the Front Range has made great strides in air quality from the brown cloud days of yesteryear through proper regulations and vehicle emissions standards. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: UN climate talks disappoint, but don’t give up; Pollution and air quality are a top priority; The wisdom or folly of impeaching Donald Trump (12/22/19)," 23 Dec. 2019 This hot showbiz shrub of yesteryear, which goes by the name of Audrey II, has found a new dance partner, a performer who can coax the tendril-stretching star quality out of a freakish botanical specimen. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Review: Jonathan Groff Feeds the Beast," 17 Oct. 2019 Why send Kershaw, who isn’t the dominant pitcher of yesteryear, back to the mound in the eighth inning to face Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto, the Nationals’ best hitters? Los Angeles Times, "Dave Roberts’ baffling NLDS Game 5 bullpen decisions raise questions," 10 Oct. 2019 Lighter and more compact than the lead and nickel-cadmium batteries of yesteryear, lithium-ion batteries, with further tinkering, could provide a path to storing energy to power homes, airplanes—and even the grid. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, "Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to development of lithium batteries," 9 Oct. 2019 There was nothing totally out of the blue this year, unlike yesteryear's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, In Bruges or The Tourist. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Golden Globe Noms Analysis: Who Should and Shouldn't Panic," 9 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for yesteryear

Time Traveler

The first known use of yesteryear was in 1870

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Statistics for yesteryear

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Yesteryear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yesteryear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yesteryear

Spanish Central: Translation of yesteryear

Britannica English: Translation of yesteryear for Arabic Speakers

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