- for|mer1 W1S2 [ˈfo:mə US ˈfo:rmər] adj [only before noun][Date: 1100-1200; Origin: forme 'first' (12-16 centuries), from Old English forma]1.) happening or existing before, but not now▪ the former Soviet Union▪ Their farm has been reduced to half its former size.2.) having a particular position in the past= ↑ex-→↑present▪ my former husband▪ former president Clinton3.) in former times/yearsin the past4.) sb/sth's former selfwhat someone or something was like before they were changed by age, illness, trouble etc▪ She seems more like her former self.be a shadow/ghost of your former self(=be much less confident, healthy, energetic etc than you used to be)▪ The team's a shadow of its former self.former 2former2 n1.) the formerformal the first of two people or things that you have just mentioned≠ ↑the latter▪ Of the two possibilities, the former seems more likely.2.) first/second/sixth etc formerBrE used in some schools to show which class a student is in, according to how many years they have been in school
Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.