adjective for·mer \ˈfr-mər\

—used to say what someone or something was in the past

: existing in the past

Full Definition of FORMER

a :  coming before in time
b :  of, relating to, or occurring in the past <former correspondence>
:  preceding in place or arrangement :  foregoing <the former part of the chapter>
:  first in order of two or more things cited or understood <of the two given, the former spelling is more common> <of the two spellings, the former is more common>
:  having been previously :  onetime <a former athlete>

Examples of FORMER

  1. <the coach is a former professional baseball player>
  2. <the former manual had some errors, but the current version has its own problems>

Origin of FORMER

Middle English, from forme first, from Old English forma — more at foremost
First Known Use: 12th century

Synonym Discussion of FORMER

preceding, antecedent, foregoing, previous, prior, former, anterior mean being before. preceding usually implies being immediately before in time or in place <the preceding sentence>. antecedent applies to order in time and may suggest a causal relation <conditions antecedent to the revolution>. foregoing applies chiefly to statements <the foregoing remarks>. previous and prior imply existing or occurring earlier, but prior often adds an implication of greater importance <a child from a previous marriage> <a prior obligation>. former implies always a definite comparison or contrast with something that is latter <the former name of the company>. anterior applies to position before or ahead of usually in space, sometimes in time or order <the anterior lobe of the brain>.

Rhymes with FORMER


noun form·er \ˈfr-mər\

Definition of FORMER

:  one that forms
chiefly British :  a member of a school form —usually used in combination <sixth former>

First Known Use of FORMER

14th century
FORMER Defined for Kids


adjective for·mer \ˈfr-mər\

Definition of FORMER for Kids

:  coming before in time <a former president>


Next Word in the Dictionary: former adjudicationPrevious Word in the Dictionary: formenkreisAll Words Near: former
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