: in the past : formerly
We were delighted to discover a new community garden where erstwhile had been a trash-filled vacant lot.
"In Florida, the erstwhile popular Republican governor, Charlie Crist, dropped out of the party's Senate primary race to run as an independent after encountering Tea Party opposition." -- From the Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd.'s Country Report Select, October 1, 2010
Did You Know?
The adverb "erstwhile" has been part of English since the 16th century, but it is formed from two words that are much older. It comes from the Old English words "ær," meaning "early," and "hwīl," which has much the same meaning as the modern word "while." (The English word "ere," meaning "before," is also descendant of "ær.") The adjective "erstwhile," as in "erstwhile enemies," joined the language around 1900.
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