Learner's definition of PREVIOUS
1 : existing or happening before the present time
She has a child from a previous marriage.
She has made previous attempts to quit smoking. [=she has tried to quit smoking before]
No previous [=past] experience is necessary.
I can't go to the party because of a previous [=prior] engagement. [=because I agreed to be somewhere else before I knew about the party]
2 a : earlier in time or order
b : immediately before in time or order
In previous [=past] years, we always went to the beach for vacation.
a previous album/book [=an album/book made before the current album/book]
The two characters met in a previous chapter.
the previous owners of the house
previous tosomewhat formal
: before (a time, event, etc.)