When a woman marries she often is able to identify her former surname (aka maiden name) using the term née (men can use though it is less common). If the woman later changes her name due to divorce or widowing/remarriage is there a term to use that would identify her former married name usage?

Example: In this article Meg Mathews is identified as "Famous for: being the former Mrs Noel Gallagher".

This means she has been able at various points in her life to use the following name forms:

  • Meg Mathews
  • Meg (née Mathews) Gallagher
  • Meg Gallagher
  • Mrs. Noel Gallagher
  • Meg Mathews (formerly Mrs. Noel Gallagher)

What I am wondering is if there is an English (or for that matter non-English) term which she could be identified by such as (this is hypothetical):

  • Meg (prév Gallagher) Mathews

I know this is EL&U but I am including in my request any applicable foreign terms since née is itself a foreign term adopted into English usage.

  • 1
    In my experience it's more commonly Meg Gallagher (née Mathews) unless she is using her maiden name as her middle name, in which case it's just Meg Mathews Gallagher.
    – phoog
    May 30, 2016 at 18:30
  • The analogous adoption of a French word might be mariée.
    – Joffan
    May 30, 2016 at 19:36
  • @Joffan - You might be on to an idea there, but perhaps a more appropriate French word would be passé (which implies past/former). Use of mariée might be appropriate for a person who is currently married to someone who uses an asynchronous name.
    – O.M.Y.
    May 31, 2016 at 2:23
  • I frankly doubt there are enough women who have been divorced who want to identify themselves by their former husbands' names to require such a word 8-).
    – Al Maki
    May 31, 2016 at 2:29
  • @AlMaki - You are forgetting this could also apply to widows/widowers (of notable spouses) who may have remarried. Also it could sometimes be appropriate for a divorced person to use such a form when their children have the ex-spouse's last name and you are trying to clarify the relationship.
    – O.M.Y.
    May 31, 2016 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


I've not heard one in common usage. "Meg Mathews (formerly Mrs. Noel Gallagher)" is how I'd expect to hear it. (Actually, I'd expect "Meg Mathews (formerly Gallagher)" as a shorthand.)

As changing names multiple times in life, or reverting to a maiden name after divorce is a more modern occurance, we don't have an historical word stolen from some other language.

  • What, like *occurance you mean?
    – tchrist
    May 31, 2016 at 1:25

I've got two suggestions:


"Formely known as"

Could be used for example in Meg Matthews (FKA Galagher). It's common enough and close enough to AKA that most people would understand it, or remember once explained.


is also interesting because

1) Someone's ex is the person they used to be married to or used to have a romantic or sexual relationship with


2) ex- as a prefix is added to nouns to show that someone or something is no longer the thing referred to by that noun.

For example

he's an ex-marine, ex-addict, ex-convict...she's an ex-Galagher (she does not belong to this family anymore)

Hence simply Meg Matthews (ex-Galagher) or Meg (ex-Galagher) Matthews* if you want to indicate that she doesn't bear the name anymore.

I don't think anybody would get confused about the meaning or what you're talking about and it's the shortest and simplest word possible.

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