from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that forms; a maker or creator: a former of ideas.
  • n. A member of a school form: a fifth former.
  • adj. Occurring earlier in time.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or taking place in the past.
  • adj. Coming before in place or order; foregoing.
  • adj. Being the first of two mentioned.
  • adj. Having been in the past: a former ambassador.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. previous
  • adj. first of aforementioned two items. Used with the, often without a noun.
  • n. Someone who forms something.
  • n. An object used to form something.
  • n. Someone in, or of, a certain form (class).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Preceding in order of time; antecedent; previous; prior; earlier; hence, ancient; long past.
  • adj. Near the beginning; preceeding.
  • adj. Earlier, as between two things mentioned together; first mentioned.
  • n. One who forms; a maker; a creator.
  • n.
  • n. A shape around which an article is to be shaped, molded, woven wrapped, pasted, or otherwise constructed.
  • n. A templet, pattern, or gauge by which an article is shaped.
  • n. A cutting die.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Being before in place; fore; first; foremost.
  • Being or happening before in time; preceding another or something else in order of time; prior.
  • Past; especially, long past; ancient.
  • Preceding or going before in a series; antecedent in order of thought, of action, etc.: specifically applied to the antecedent one of two things, or of two parts or divisions of anything.
  • Bygone.
  • n. A predecessor.
  • n. One who forms, fashions, creates, or makes; a creator.
  • n. Specifically, a pattern in or upon which anything is shaped, as a piece of wood used for shaping cartridges and gun-wads; any mechanism contributing to give shape to an article in process of manufacture.
  • n. One of a number of appliances and machines used in bending and shaping sheet-metal into tubes, cylinders, boxes, and other forms.
  • n. The templet used for the cutting of gear-teeth; the guide used for giving desired motion to the cutter when forming or cutting irregularly shaped pieces in a profiling-machine.
  • n. In electricity, a frame upon which the coils of certain types of armatures and transformers are wound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the first of two or the first mentioned of two
  • adj. (used especially of persons) of the immediate past
  • adj. belonging to the distant past
  • adj. referring to the first of two things or persons mentioned (or the earlier one or ones of several)
  • adj. belonging to some prior time


Middle English, comparative of forme, first, from Old English forma; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English former, comparative of forme ("first"), from Old English forma ("first"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Anterior, antiguo // Example: My former girlfriend (Mi ex-novia) // WordReference

    October 19, 2007

  • It's like a former athlete.

    February 1, 2007