Previous means the one that just came before. For instance, the previous sentence explained the meaning of the word previous.

With previous, you first see that the prefix pre meaning "before." The second part of the word, vius, — think via — means "road," so you’re talking about the road, or thing, before. Previous, though, can be used with people, or anything else too. You will know right away if the previous tenants had cats. Do you ever wonder what you were in a previous life? Rivers are at flood stage from the previous two rain storms.

Definitions of previous
  1. adjective
    just preceding something else in time or order
    “the previous owner”
    synonyms: old
    existing or coming before
  2. adjective
    (used especially of persons) of the immediate past
    “the previous occupant of the White House”
    synonyms: former, late
    earlier than the present time; no longer current
  3. adjective
    too soon or too hasty
    “our condemnation of him was a bit previous
    synonyms: premature
    at or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week