Why was clemency trending last week?


[fawr-mer-lee] /ˈfɔr mər li/
in time past; in an earlier period or age; previously:
a custom formerly observed.
Obsolete. in time just past; just now.
Origin of formerly
1580-90; former1 + -ly
Can be confused
formally, formerly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for formerly
  • The plough was heavier than the tools formerly used by farmers.
  • formerly a greenhouse, enjoy the sun-drenched promenade.
  • formerly approved drug imparts lasting learning and memory improvements to impaired mice.
  • Mixed-income residential towers and adjoining parkland rise on land formerly occupied by railroad yards.
  • Lands that were formerly separated by water were now connected.
  • The formerly dark, musty building became light-filled and bright.
  • Now another formerly obscure process known as autophagy is suddenly claiming extraordinary scientific attention.
  • formerly a clothing designer, she divides her time between teaching art and painting.
  • Old thoroughfares have been broadened and new ones have been cut through what formerly were slums.
  • In this new climate, museums are examining subjects formerly forbidden.
British Dictionary definitions for formerly


at or in a former time; in the past
(obsolete) in the immediate past; just now
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for formerly

1580s, from former + -ly (2). A Middle English word for this was andersith "formerly, at former times" (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for formerly

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for formerly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with formerly

Nearby words for formerly