(1) The captain of the ship was a ci-devant peasant and was almost obsequious in his manner.
[Beatrice Webb: Russian Diary. In: Passfield Papers, Estate of the Webbs archived at the London School of Economics; entry following "June 2nd" (1932).]
(2) ci-devant [search result via google:] from or in an earlier time; former.
- "her ci-devant pupil, now her lover"
- Origin French: 'heretofore'
(3) ci-devant, adj. (and n.) ... Etymology: French, = heretofore, formerly
- Former, 'late'; that was formerly
- n. In the language of the French Revolution, a man of rank, i.e. one formerly such, the Republic having suppressed distinctions of nobility. / 1871 J. Morley. J. de Maistre in Crit. Misc. 152: Give me the lives of...three hundred thousand ci-devants and aristocrats.
[Oxford English Dictionary and relevant entries there]