former

Former refers to something that came at an earlier time, or before something else. For example, someone who believes in reincarnation might wonder about their former life — or even lives — before their present existence.

When something or someone has changed, we can refer to them as former. For example, Mr. Smith's ex-wife could be known as the former Mrs. Smith. We could consider almost anything as former, as long as it comes first, before something else. A good way to remember the meaning of former is to consider that it comes from the Old English forma, which means "first," and that both former and first begin with "f."

Definitions of former
  1. noun
    the first of two or the first mentioned of two
    “Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the former is remembered today”
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    Antonyms:
    latter
    the second of two or the second mentioned of two
    type of:
    first, number one
    the first or highest in an ordering or series
  2. adjective
    referring to the first of two things or persons mentioned (or the earlier one or ones of several)
    “I prefer the former version to the latter one”
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    Antonyms:
    latter
    referring to the second of two things or persons mentioned (or the last one or ones of several)
    last mentioned
    the one most recently mentioned
    show more antonyms...
  3. adjective
    (used especially of persons) of the immediate past
    “the former president”
    synonyms: late, previous
    past
    earlier than the present time; no longer current
  4. adjective
    belonging to some prior time
    “our former glory”
    synonyms: erstwhile, old, one-time, onetime, quondam, sometime
    past
    earlier than the present time; no longer current
  5. adjective
    belonging to the distant past
    former generations”
    synonyms: early, other
    past
    earlier than the present time; no longer current
Word Family
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