• synonyms


adverb Archaic.
  1. before the present time; formerly.
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Origin of erst

before 1000; Middle English erest, Old English ǣrest (cognate with Old High German ērist, German erst), equivalent to ǣr ere + -est -est1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for erst

Historical Examples of erst

  • The Master said, Erst the cold days show how fir and cypress are last to fade.

    The Sayings Of Confucius


  • It was thus my cousin Surrey's life was saved that was erst a weakling.'

    Privy Seal

    Ford Madox Ford

  • The phrase is confined to AR and its group; elsewhere at erst is used.

  • Who shall say that hallelujahs shall not yet tremble on the lips where erst were curses?

    Rose Clark

    Fanny Fern

  • And the child lulled the parent, as the parent had erst lulled the child.


    Charlotte Bront

British Dictionary definitions for erst


adverb archaic
  1. long ago; formerly
  2. at first
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Word Origin for erst

Old English ǣrest earliest, superlative of ǣr early; see ere; related to Old High German ērist, Dutch eerst
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