- The definition of former is something that happened in the past or a previously held role.
- An example of former is a person who was once a policeman but is now retired.
- An example of former is the first thing mentioned in a serious of items.
- preceding in time; earlier; past: in former times
- first mentioned of two: often used absolutely (with the): Jack and Bill are twins, but the former is taller than the latter
Origin of formerMiddle English formere, comparative of forme, first ; from Old English forma: see foremost
a person or thing that forms
- One that forms; a maker or creator: a former of ideas.
- A member of a school form: a fifth former.
- Relating to or taking place in the past: in former times.
- Having been so in the past: a former ambassador; his former boss.
- Being the first of two mentioned.
The first of two persons or things mentioned: “The army was pulling itself together, the government was coming apart. The success of the former was continually imperiled by the failure of the latter” (Garry Wills).
Origin of formerMiddle English, comparative of forme, first, from Old English forma; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
From Middle English former, comparative of forme (“first”), from Old English forma (“first”).
- Someone who forms something; a maker; a creator or founder.
- Dave was the former of the company.
- An object used to form something, such as a template, gauge, or cutting die.
- The brick arch was built using a wooden former.
- (chiefly UK, used in combinations) Someone in, or of, a certain form (class).