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former1

[fawr-mer] /ˈfɔr mər/
adjective
1.
preceding in time; prior or earlier:
during a former stage in the proceedings.
2.
past, long past, or ancient:
in former times.
3.
preceding in order; being the first of two:
Our former manufacturing process was too costly.
4.
being the first mentioned of two (distinguished from latter):
The former suggestion was preferred to the latter.
5.
having once, or previously, been; erstwhile:
a former president.
Origin of former1
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English, equivalent to forme (Old English forma first) + -er -er4. Cf. foremost
Can be confused
former, later, latter.
Synonyms
3. foregoing, antecedent. 5. past, ex-.

former2

[fawr-mer] /ˈfɔr mər/
noun
1.
a person or thing that forms or serves to form.
2.
a pupil in a particular form or grade, especially in a British secondary school:
fifth formers.
Origin
First recorded in 1300-50, former is from the Middle English word fourmer. See form, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for former
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "No, sir," said Robert, looking boldly in the face of his former employer.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Hunger and cold seemed to have driven them from their former homes.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • My former suspicions that Mr. Giles must have been in this neighbourhood were now confirmed.

  • The former is engaged in commerce and the latter is the popular member for Leeds.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • I have another letter from Mr. Lovelace, although I had not answered his former.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
British Dictionary definitions for former

former1

/ˈfɔːmə/
adjective (prenominal)
1.
belonging to or occurring in an earlier time: former glory
2.
having been at a previous time: a former colleague
3.
denoting the first or first mentioned of two: in the former case
4.
near the beginning
noun
5.
the former, the first or first mentioned of two: distinguished from latter

former2

/ˈfɔːmə/
noun
1.
a person or thing that forms or shapes
2.
(electrical engineering) a tool for giving a coil or winding the required shape, sometimes consisting of a frame on which the wire can be wound, the frame then being removed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for former
adj.

"earlier in time," mid-12c., comparative of forme "first," patterned on formest "foremost" (see foremost). An unusual case of a comparative formed from a superlative (the -m- is a superlative element).

n.

"one who gives form," mid-14c., agent noun from form (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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