This question asks about the positive or negative connotations of the word erstwhile.
I'd like to know:
- does (or did) erstwhile consistently carry any positive or negative connotation, or was it a clinically neutral term?
For example, does one remember an erstwhile friend more fondly than a former friend; or would one more readily embrace an erstwhile enemy than a former enemy?
What I've found so far: the ODO and MW dictionary and etymology entries are clinical, the ELU references similarly deal with denotation rather than connotation, the first web reference cited above deals with a connotation arising from an erroneous presupposition, and the second claims without proof that erstwhile references both beginning and end.