Etymology
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erstwhile (adv.)

1560s, "formerly," from erst "first, at first; once, long ago; till now" (13c.), earlier erest from Old English ærest "soonest, earliest," superlative of ær (see ere) + while (adv.). As an adjective, "former," from 1903. Cognate with Old Saxon and Old High German erist, German erst.

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Definitions of erstwhile
1
erstwhile (adv.)
at a previous time;
her erstwhile writing
Synonyms: once / formerly / at one time / erst
2
erstwhile (adj.)
belonging to some prior time;
erstwhile friend
Synonyms: former / old / onetime / one-time / quondam / sometime
From wordnet.princeton.edu