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Borrowed from Latin quondam. Compare whilom.



quondam (not comparable)

  1. (formal) Former; once; at one time.
    Synonyms: erstwhile; see also Thesaurus:former
    • c. 1591–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i], page 158, column 1:
      This is the quondam King; Let's ſeize vpon him.
    • 1789, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to James Madison, 28 March, in The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections 1788–1790, vol. 1, ed. Merrill Jensen and Robert A. Becker, University of Wisconsin Press, 1976, page 217:
      Present him if you please in my name to [John] Henry, [William] Grayson and all our quondam acquaintances and be assured that any civilities he receives from you will be gratefully remembered by me.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      However, with the dainty volume my quondam friend sprang into fame. At the same time he cast off the chrysalis of a commonplace existence.
    • 1931, H. P. Lovecraft, chapter 8, in The Whisperer in Darkness:
      For the sleeper on the couch was not Akeley at all, but my quondam guide Noyes.
    • 2020 September 1, A. O. Scott, “‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ Review: Where to Begin?”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      A few hundred pages after faintly praising me [] the book’s narrator (a quondam critic with nothing nice to say about Charlie Kaufman) challenges me to a barroom argument about cinema.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]



From cum (when) (older quom) + -dam (demonstrative ending).



quondam (not comparable)

  1. at a certain time, at one time, once, heretofore, formerly
  2. sometimes


See also[edit]


  • quondam”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • quondam”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • quondam in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • quondam in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.