What is meaning of erstwhile and where is it used? How can I use this word in real life while texting, talking, and so on?


1 Answer 1


Erstwhile means former, as in, no longer. It is archaic. You can use it in real life so long as you're in period dress at a renaissance fair. Other than that expect people to look at you funny. Well actually, I can't guarantee they won't do that at the fair either...

  • 1
    I'd say it is formal and used mainly in writing, but far from disappeared:books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    Aug 7, 2015 at 6:35
  • Ok, at a renaissance fair or as a film noir author. I still make no guarantees regarding looks. "Of all the answers to comment on he had to comment on mine...." Aug 7, 2015 at 6:42
  • @Josh61 you know as well as I that Ngram does not "show" us how popular or common a single term is. Compare it with any of the suggested synonyms thesaurus.com/browse/erstwhile
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 7, 2015 at 6:57
  • @Josh61 please look at Google Books results for "erstwhile" google.it/… It is extremely rare, possibly found in print, but nowadays nobody actually "says" it. I can't upvote this answer because it's a little too flippant, and it ignores the other uses of erstwhile.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 7, 2015 at 7:00
  • @Mari-LouA - that's not the point I was making, erstwhile is still alive and kicking despite it is not a common term.
    – user66974
    Aug 7, 2015 at 7:02

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