for·mer | \ˈfȯr-mər \

Definition of former 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : coming before in time She now appears like her former self.

b : of, relating to, or occurring in the past former correspondence restoring the theater to its former glory

2 : preceding in place or arrangement : foregoing the former part of the chapter

3 : 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

4 : having been previously : onetime a former athlete her former husband


form·er | \ˈfȯr-mər \

Definition of former (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that forms

2 chiefly British : a member of a school form usually used in combination sixth former

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Synonyms & Antonyms for former

Synonyms: Adjective

antecedent, anterior, foregoing, precedent, preceding, previous, prior

Antonyms: Adjective

after, ensuing, following, later, posterior, subsequent, succeeding

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of former in a Sentence


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Cristiano Ronaldo has joined the Italian champions for a fee just shy of £100m, prompting a wave of tributes from his former Real Madrid colleagues, who have been privileged to play alongside one of the greatest players of all time., "Real Madrid Star Linked With Juventus Move After Promise of Cristiano Ronaldo Reunion," 13 July 2018 His co-defendant and former colleague, Jay Williams of Griswold, was acquitted of all counts of conspiracy and trade secret theft. Matthew Ormseth,, "Former Employee Of Groton Defense Contractor Requests New Trial After Conviction For Stealing Navy Secrets," 12 July 2018 The survey also asked about the investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and finds voters remain unhappy with how the current and former administrations have handled the interference. Dana Blanton, Fox News, "Fox News Poll: Trump not tough enough on Russia, approval of Mueller down," 13 July 2018 Peters replaces former director State Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, who left her post as her responsibilities in the Kentucky General Assembly have expanded. Melissa Reinert,, "NKY Office of Drug Control Policy welcomes Amanda Peters as new director," 13 July 2018 When a sketch of the suspect was published, Morris Riskin, vice president of Star Laundry and Dry Cleaners, told police that a former employee known as Victor Lively could be the suspect whom police were looking for. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "True crime: The 'dresser drawer murder' at the Claypool Hotel," 13 July 2018 The former employees believe unsafe practices were used on young patients. CBS News, ""Whistleblower": Former employees take on pediatric dental chain when they suspect the company of wrongdoing," 13 July 2018 The report was expected to be released last month, but at least two dozen current or former clergy members have asked the court to block its release. Aubrey Nagle,, "Pickleball takes over the Jersey Shore, Pa. Supreme Court donations in question | Morning Newsletter," 12 July 2018 Healy interviewed 26 people, all current or former members of the Gibsons family. Rick Kogan,, "Gibsons Confidential: Inside tales from the famous restaurant are in a book you can't yet read," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

How does the de-radicalization process introduce an alternative masculinity to formers? Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Can White Supremacists Unlearn Hate?," 13 Apr. 2018 Kim and Cohen met while the former was an associate creative director at Vice; Cohen served as a casting director on one of Kim’s projects. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "A New Invite-Only Chinatown Dinner Party For Musicians Aims to Bring Back New York When It Used to Be Cool," 18 June 2018 The former are based on audited school district spending and enrollment figures; the latter are estimates based on a survey of state education departments. Betsy Hammond,, "Oregon teacher salaries average $62K, above U.S. average," 25 Apr. 2018 His nonprofit takes a more compassionate approach than many other groups and governments, encouraging formers to share their stories and expand their social circles. Carla Power,, "'We have four generations of former terrorists here today': Rehabilitating extremists in Indonesia," 20 Apr. 2018 Though the events' previous venue, Lucky Strike Houston, is significantly closer to the home team's home base, Minute Maid Park, the latter boasts 14 bowling lanes to the former's 39. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "George Springer's fourth annual All-Star Bowling Benefit raises record $250K for youth who stutter," 10 July 2018 Longtime rivals during their prime years, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have become the PGA Tour's unlikeliest buddies upon the former's return to competitive play this year. Matt Bonesteel,, "Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson for $10 million. What's not to love?," 6 July 2018 Imparfaite was founded by best friends Ariane de Béchade and Camille Gabbi, the former of whom previously worked as a product manager for Lanvin and the latter as a sales and marketing manager for L’Oreal. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This Is Where All of the Coolest French Girls Get Their Vintage Fashion," 2 July 2018 And while the former may not always be the case, the latter most definitely is. Zahir Janmohamed, Bon Appetit, "Saraga Is the International Grocery Store of My Dreams," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'former.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of former


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for former


Middle English, from forme first, from Old English forma — more at foremost

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Phrases Related to former

ghost/shadow of one's former self

the former

Statistics for former

Last Updated

26 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for former

The first known use of former was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for former



English Language Learners Definition of former

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

: existing in the past


for·mer | \ˈfȯr-mər \

Kids Definition of former

: coming before in time a former president

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