Also found in: Thesaurus, Acronyms.
Related to previously: willingness, pushy, acknowledged


1. Existing or occurring before something else in time or order; prior: children by a previous marriage.
2. Informal Acting, occurring, or done too soon; premature or hasty: "I have been too previous, for which you must blame the natural impatience of a man in love" (Georgette Heyer).

[From Latin praevius, going before : prae-, pre- + via, way; see wegh- in Indo-European roots.]

pre′vi·ous·ly adv.
pre′vi·ous·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. 'previously' and 'before'

If you are talking about a period measured back from some earlier time, you use before or previously.

He had died a month before.
She had rented the flat some fourteen months previously.
See before
2. 'ago'

You only use ago when you are talking about a period of time measured back from the present.

We met two years ago.
See ago
3. 'for'

You use for to say how long a period lasts in the past, present, or future, or how much time passes without something happening.

She slept for eight hours.
He will be away for three weeks.
I hadn't seen him for four years.
See for
4. 'since'

You use since to say when a period of time started.

She has been with the group since it began.
...the first civilian president since the coup 17 years ago.

You also use since to refer to the last time that something happened, or to how much time passes without something happening.

She hadn't eaten since breakfast.
It was a long time since she had been to church.
See since
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.previously - at an earlier time or formerly; "she had previously lived in Chicago"; "he was previously president of a bank"; "better than anything previously proposed"; "a previously unquestioned attitude"; "antecedently arranged"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


adverb before, earlier, once, in the past, formerly, back then, until now, at one time, hitherto, beforehand, a while ago, heretofore, in days or years gone by Previously she had no time to work in her own garden.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. At a time in the past:
2. Up to this time:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
fyrr, áîur
trước kia


[ˈpriːvɪəslɪ] ADV (= earlier, formerly) → antes, anteriormente; (= in advance) → con antelación, previamente
as previously mentionedcomo se ha mencionado antes or anteriormente
previously, the country had been divided in twoantes or anteriormente, el país había estado dividido en dos partes
she read out a previously prepared speechleyó un discurso que había preparado con antelación or previamente
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈpriːviəsli] advauparavant
10 days previously → 10 jours auparavantpre-war prewar [ˌpriːˈwɔːr] adj [leader, job, years, period, car, model, world] → d'avant-guerre
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


advvorher, früher; previously I had very little time to cookfrüher hatte ich nur sehr wenig Zeit zum Kochen; he’d arrived three hours previouslyer war drei Stunden zuvor angekommen; previously unreleased/unpublishedbislang or bisher unveröffentlicht; previously unknownbislang or bisher unbekannt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈpriːvɪəslɪ] adv (before) → prima; (in the past) → in precedenza; (already) → già
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈpriːviəs) adjective
earlier in time or order. on a previous occasion; the previous owner of the house.
ˈpreviously adverb
previous to
before. They told their families about their engagement previous to publishing it in the newspaper.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


مِنْ قَبْل předtím tidligere vorher πρωτύτερα antes aiemmin précédemment prethodno in precedenza 以前に 전에 voorafgaand tidligere poprzednio previamente заблаговременно innan แต่ก่อน daha önceden trước kia 先前
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
I could now see that I had been trebly in the wrong--wrong in hastily and cruelly suspecting an innocent woman; wrong in communicating my suspicions (without an attempt to verify them previously) to another person; wrong in accepting the flighty inferences and conclusions of Miserrimus Dexter as if they had been solid truths.
IN PARTICULAR This Work Is Dedicated By A Humble Native Of Flatland In the Hope that Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries OF THREE DIMENSIONS Having been previously conversant With ONLY TWO So the Citizens of that Celestial Region May aspire yet higher and higher To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE or EVEN SIX Dimensions Thereby contributing To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION And the possible Development Of that most and excellent GIFT of MODESTY Among the Superior Races Of SOLID HUMANITY
In requital, having previously waxed his hand, a practice unknown, I believe, to the gentlemen of the modern fancy, he returned the box on the ear with such interest as to kill his antagonist on the spot.
I have not heard from him since; and, as he had previously drawn on me for a larger sum of money than usual, there would be no present necessity for his writing to me again -- assuming that it is his wish to keep his place of residence concealed from every one, myself included.
Mainwaring she gave jealousy and wretchedness to his wife, and by her attentions to a young man previously attached to Mr.
"This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him by the religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of the work had appeared, with the natural consequence that when it came out in covers the country already had been flooded by its imitators with a score of 'cynic' books -- The Cynic's This , The Cynic's That , and
Inquiries made at Plymouth proved that they had sailed, forty-eight hours previously, in the BEWLEY CASTLE, East Indiaman, bound direct to Bombay.
True, among the more upright and honorable whalemen allowances are always made for peculiar cases, where it would be an outrageous moral injustice for one party to claim possession of a whale previously chased or killed by another party.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
This active leader, it will be recollected, had embarked the year previously in skin-boats on the Bighorn, freighted with the year's collection of peltries.
Several of these traders had, two or three years previously, formed themselves into a company, composed of twelve partners, with a capital of about forty thousand dollars, called the Missouri Fur Company; the object of which was, to establish posts along the upper part of that river, and monopolize the trade.
Before the battle of Borodino our strength in proportion to the French was about as five to six, but after that battle it was little more than one to two: previously we had a hundred thousand against a hundred and twenty thousand; afterwards little more than fifty thousand against a hundred thousand.

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