coming or occurring before something else; prior: the previous owner.
Informal. done, occurring, etc., before the proper time; premature: Aren't you a little previous with that request?


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

Origin of previous

1615–25; < Latin praevius going before, equivalent to prae- pre- + vi(a) way + -us adj. suffix
Related formspre·vi·ous·ly, adverbpre·vi·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for previous

1. earlier, former, preceding, foregoing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for previous

Contemporary Examples of previous

Historical Examples of previous

  • These were all the modifications he had to make in his previous statements.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • I suppose they do not know that you were—that you have had any previous hospital experience.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Palmer had the car out—had, indeed, not been home since the morning of the previous day.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Schwitter had taken in five hundred dollars the previous day.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed.

British Dictionary definitions for previous



(prenominal) existing or coming before something else in time or position; prior
(postpositive) informal taking place or done too soon; premature
previous to before; prior to
Derived Formspreviously, adverbpreviousness, noun

Word Origin for previous

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

Word Origin and History for previous

1620s, from Latin praevius "going before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + via "road" (see via). Related: Previously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper