Alternative formsEdit


From Latin praevius.



previous (comparative more previous, superlative most previous)

  1. (not comparable) Prior; occurring before something else, either in time or order.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess[1]:
      He stood transfixed before the unaccustomed view of London at night time, a vast panorama which reminded him […] of some wood engravings far off and magical, in a printshop in his childhood. They dated from the previous century and were coarsely printed on tinted paper, with tinsel outlining the design.
    He is no better than the previous Prime Minister.
  2. (informal) Premature; acting or occurring too soon.
    • 2010, Gerald Lynch, Roughnecks, Drillers, and Tool Pushers:
      I was a bit previous it turned out, as I worked short-handed for ten days before I could find another hand.



Derived termsEdit



previous (countable and uncountable, plural previouses)

  1. (informal, UK) An existing criminal record (short for "previous convictions")
    Synonym: form
    It turned out the shoplifter had a lot of previous.
    • 1994, William J. Caunitz, Three complete novels: Black Sand; Suspects; One Police Plaza:
      Simmons had eight previouses: robberies, burglaries, a couple of felonious assaults.
  2. (informal, UK) A track record of similar behaviour.
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, “Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United”, in[2]:
      For that Smalling will have to do his time grazing in the scapegoat’s paddock because his contribution here supplied hard evidence of a player lacking the football intelligence that is needed at the highest level. He has previous on that front and it is difficult to find any mitigation for the way he scythed down James Milner when the first rule for a defender on a yellow card is not to dive in unless it is absolutely necessary.