former

1
[fawr-mer]
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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 former

1
1125–75; Middle English, equivalent to forme (Old English forma first) + -er -er4. Cf. foremost
Can be confusedformer later latter

Synonyms for former

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former

2
[fawr-mer]
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 of former

2
First recorded in 1300–50, former is from the Middle English word fourmer. See form, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for former

Contemporary Examples of former

Historical Examples of former

  • "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

former

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

former

2
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

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