A few years ago Bill Lieblich (remember him?) posted a suggestion that the adjective "erstwhile" was being used on occasion with the meaning "excellent" or "distinguished." This was much pooh-poohed, mostly as if Bill were recommending rather than merely reporting such a usage. (It's not as if he needed to be told this was not standard usage.) In moving some old stuff around on the C: drive, I turned up a post in which I came to Bill's defense, but at the time I was unable to quote more than a couple of instances found on the Internet. It's a few years later now, and Google has taken over the world, so I decided to go looking once again for evidence that Bill was on to something.
He was. Just paste the text on the subject line (quotation marks included) into Google's search blank and watch what happens. (I used "very erstwhile" both then and now because "very erstwhile" is unlikely to use "erstwhile" in the sense of "former.") Then have a look at "most erstwhile"; a surprising number of the results make sense only if "erstwhile" means "excellent." Some make no sense at all, e.g., . And here's further evidence of more sheer confusion: .
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly drifting onto the shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time.

Your erstwhile reporter,

Liebs
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A few years ago Bill Lieblich (remember him?) posted a suggestion that the adjective "erstwhile" was being used on occasion ... shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time. Your erstwhile reporter,

Time to borrow a new word?: voormalig. It seems to be the erstwhilest possibility at: http://www.answers.com/erstwhile

Personal accounts are good because they lessen the liability against future taxes of the retiree while sequestering the funds he's been paying in so they cannot be used to mask current general fund deficits.
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly drifting onto the shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time. Your erstwhile reporter,

Fowler, as represented by Gowers, gives the following example of the incongruous use of "erstwhile":
Amongst Smithfield men 'boneless bag meat' has completely ousted the sausage from its erstwhile monopoly of jest and jibe.
And Fowler/Gowers also note elsewhere that erstwhile and other words of similar meaning are being assimilated by ex-.
And someone who is very late is either very dead, or has been so a long time.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly ... was at worst ahead of his time. Your erstwhile reporter,

Fowler, as represented by Gowers, gives the following example of the incongruous use of "erstwhile": Amongst Smithfield men 'boneless bag meat' has completely ousted the sausage from its erstwhile monopoly of jest and jibe.

But at least the word is used there with its standard meaning; Gowers' examples of "incongruous vocabulary" seem to focus on words and phrases which are out of place from a stylistic or chronological point of view. I disagree with him in this case he should have replaced "erstwhile" with "quondam" to make the point.
Matti
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly ... into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time.

And someone who is very late is either very dead, or has been so a long time.

... or your watch has stopped

John Dean
Oxford
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly drifting onto the shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time.

Possibly because of one of its meanings, "our former glory" (given at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=erstwhile )?
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Fowler, as represented by Gowers, gives the following example of the incongruous use of "erstwhile": Amongst Smithfield men 'boneless bag meat' has completely ousted the sausage from its erstwhile monopoly of jest and jibe.

Betcha he'd have been OYed if he'd done that here. I am not interested enough to traipse to the next room to find the context of Fowler's remark, but there's nothing incongruous that I can see in the example, unless he means Smithfield workers, like fishwives, were unlikely to use "erstwhile" at all. If he did mean that he should have said so but then he might have found Mickwick scrabbling under the bed to find stuff to chuck at him.
Anyway, wouldn't "sausage" be "boneless bag o' meat" in Smithfield? Gives a different feel to "me old sausage", wot?
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly drifting onto the shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time. Your erstwhile reporter,

Fowler, as represented by Gowers, gives the following example of the incongruous use of "erstwhile":
Amongst Smithfield men 'boneless bag meat' has completely ousted the sausage from its erstwhile monopoly of jest and jibe.
And Fowler/Gowers also note elsewhere that erstwhile and other words of similar meaning are being assimilated by ex-.
And someone who is very late is either very dead, or has been so a long time.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
I think it fair to say that "erstwhile" is slowly drifting onto the shoals of "excellent," with an occasional sideslip into God-knows-what. Bill was at worst ahead of his time. Your erstwhile reporter,

Fowler, as represented by Gowers, gives the following example of the incongruous use of "erstwhile":
Amongst Smithfield men 'boneless bag meat' has completely ousted the sausage from its erstwhile monopoly of jest and jibe.
And Fowler/Gowers also note elsewhere that erstwhile and other words of similar meaning are being assimilated by ex-.
And someone who is very late is either very dead, or has been so a long time.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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