Definition of erstwhile in English:



  • [attributive] Former.

    ‘the erstwhile president of the company’
    • ‘To be fair to the script writers, they have made Todd behave in a way which entitled his erstwhile friends and neighbours to complain about his conduct.’
    • ‘But there's nothing like a common enemy to get erstwhile rivals to work together.’
    • ‘Many of the president's erstwhile critics seem willing to give him a chance.’
    • ‘He assuredly bumped off a formidable array of erstwhile friends and possible rivals.’
    • ‘Or is it more a question of a prime minister losing the trust of his people, including some his erstwhile friends and allies?’
    former, old, past, one-time, sometime, as was, ex-, late, then
    previous, prior, foregoing
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  • Formerly.

    ‘Mary Anderson, erstwhile the queen of America's stage’
    • ‘The stately buildings, erstwhile the abode of the honoured and wealthy of the city, are now tenanted by humble toilers, or turned into places of business.’
    • ‘Oil money has corrupted the media and a considerable segment of erstwhile critical intellectuals.’
    • ‘Thus it came to pass that one of the islands of the Archipelago of Bermuda, erstwhile the haunt of buccaneers, became the lair of another gang.’
    • ‘Getting a brand that was erstwhile pushed by James Bond himself?’
    • ‘The future, as foreseen by Douglas Hurd, erstwhile Foreign Secretary to Margaret Thatcher, looks intriguing.’
    formerly, previously, in the past, at one time, at one point, once upon a time, on a former occasion, on one occasion, one time, in one case, time was when, in days gone by, in times gone by, back in the day, in times past, in the old days, in the good old days, long ago
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