Word of the Day : September 17, 2015

quondam

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adjective KWAHN-dum

Definition

: former, sometime

Did You Know?

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

A quondam rodeo champ, circuit preacher, and peanut farmer, Baxter has settled into his new life as a stand-up comedian.



Test Your Memory

Fill in the blank in this sentence from our September 6th Word of the Day: "The speed of the water flowing over the dam becomes obvious only when one observes the ______ water roiling below." The answer is …


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