[ pree-vee-uhs ]
See synonyms for previous on
  1. coming or occurring before something else; prior: the previous owner.

  2. Informal. done, occurring, etc., before the proper time; premature: Aren't you a little previous with that request?

Idioms about previous

  1. previous to, before; prior to: Previous to moving here she lived in Chicago.

Origin of previous

First recorded in 1615–25; from Latin praevius “going before,” equivalent to prae- pre- + vi(a) “way” + -us adjective suffix

Other words for previous

Other words from previous

  • pre·vi·ous·ly, adverb
  • pre·vi·ous·ness, noun

Words Nearby previous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use previous in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for previous


/ (ˈpriːvɪəs) /

  1. (prenominal) existing or coming before something else in time or position; prior

  2. (postpositive) informal taking place or done too soon; premature

  1. previous to before; prior to

Origin of previous

C17: from Latin praevius leading the way, from prae before + via way

Derived forms of previous

  • previously, adverb
  • previousness, noun

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