• WordNet 3.6
    • adj former 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" "the novel was made into a film in 1943 and again in 1967"
    • adj former belonging to the distant past "the early inhabitants of Europe","former generations","in other times"
    • adj former belonging to some prior time "erstwhile friend","our former glory","the once capital of the state","her quondam lover"
    • adj former (used especially of persons) of the immediate past "the former president","our late President is still very active","the previous occupant of the White House"
    • n former the first of two or the first mentioned of two "Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the former is remembered today"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When former Texas Governor James Hogg was on his deathbed he made a special request that a pecan tree be planted at the head of his grave instead of a tombstone. The governor passed away on March 2, 1906, which is Texas Independence Day. The pecan tree is now the state tree of Texas
    • Former (Mech) A cutting die.
    • Former (Mech) A shape around which an article is to be shaped, molded, woven wrapped, pasted, or otherwise constructed.
    • Former (Mech) A templet, pattern, or gauge by which an article is shaped.
    • Former Earlier, as between two things mentioned together; first mentioned. "A bad author deserves better usage than a bad critic; a man may be the former merely through the misfortune of an ill judgment; but he can not be latter without both that and an ill temper."
    • Former Near the beginning; preceeding; as, the former part of a discourse or argument.
    • Former One who forms; a maker; a creator.
    • Former Preceding in order of time; antecedent; previous; prior; earlier; hence, ancient; long past. "For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age.""The latter and former rain."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Jergens Lotion was created by Andrew Jergens, a former lumberjack, in 1880.
    • former Being before in place; fore; first; foremost.
    • former Being or happening before in time; preceding another or something else in order of time; prior.
    • former Past; especially, long past; ancient.
    • former 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.
    • former Bygone.
    • n former A predecessor.
    • n former One who forms, fashions, creates, or makes; a creator.
    • n former 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 former One of a number of appliances and machines used in bending and shaping sheet-metal into tubes, cylinders, boxes, and other forms. For making cylindrical blanks for round vessels and pipes, the machines employ long bending-rolls in groups of three, the sheet-metal being bent to the right diameter by the size and adjustment of the rolls. Small machines using two short rolls having irregular faces are used in forming blanks for pepper-boxes, candlesticks, and other small cylindrical vessels. Forming-machines for making square or triangular blanks for boxes and pipes are properly sheet-metal bending-machines. Wire-forming machines, used in making wire rings, handles, and bails, all use rolls or sections of cylinders round which the wire is bent to give it the proper shape.
    • n former 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 former In electricity, a frame upon which the coils of certain types of armatures and transformers are wound.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Sears Roebuck and Company was founded in 1892 by Richard Warren Sears, a former railroad worker turned watch salesman, and Alvah Roebuck, a watchmaker.
    • adj Former form′ėr (comp. of fore) before in time or order: past: first mentioned
    • ***


  • Paxton Hood
    Paxton Hood
    “Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter.”
  • Christian Nevell Bovee
    “Formerly when great fortunes were only made in war, war was business; but now when great fortunes are only made by business: Business is war!”
  • Blaise Pascal
    “Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.”
  • Francoise D'Aubegne Maintenon
    Francoise D'Aubegne Maintenon
    “There is an important difference between love and friendship. While the former delights in extremes and opposites, the latter demands equality.”
  • Ovid
    “What is now reason was formerly impulse or instinct.”
  • Emma Goldman
    “It is essential that we realize once and for all that man is much more of a sex creature than a moral creature. The former is inherent, the other is grafted on.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
A compar. due to OE. formest,. See Foremost
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Formed late on analogy of M. E. formest by adding comp. suff. -er to base of A.S. forma, first, itself a superlative form.


In literature:

Moreover, in a passage formerly quoted, it is described as a free-will-offering.
"The Ordinance of Covenanting" by John Cunningham
Of the western towers which formerly existed no traces now remain.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Gloucester [2nd ed.]" by H. J. L. J. Massé
Those which formerly went from the spritsail-topmast to the middle of the fore-stay, serving to steady the former.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
This day passed like the former, and the following in the same manner.
"Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers" by Various
San Pedro must, doubtless, at a former period, have been the principal convent in Lima.
"Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests" by J. J. von Tschudi
His resignation was followed by that of the former members of the Canning Cabinet.
"A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year" by Edwin Emerson
But, did not the chemists formerly employ themselves in search of the philosopher's stone, or the secret of making gold?
"Conversations on Chemistry, V. 1-2" by Jane Marcet
Formerly Scholar of Queen's College, Oxford.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1" by Various
Around the former the walls, up to a certain height, are ornamented with valuable hangings.
"Museum of Antiquity" by L. W. Yaggy
The former she has without an effort.
"Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments" by Various

In poetry:

"They will never turn away
From a stranger's kiss;
They have ceased to whisper low
Thoughts of former bliss."
"Love's Incredulity" by Peter John Allan
"Lips that I have press'd to mine
In the true love kiss,
Have they ceased to whisper low
Thoughts of former bliss?"
"Love's Incredulity" by Peter John Allan
Then I drew back, but as I took my seat
My former dream was gone;
The iron music underneath my feet
Sang with another tone.
"Bannockburn" by Alexander Anderson
Youth and age,
Child and sage!
The former with life unknown;
The latter burnt
By lessons learnt,
With a heart now turned to stone.
"The Cascade" by John Lawson Stoddard
"But now, alas! my husband's dead,
And all my friends are from me fled;
My former days are past and gone,
And I am now a serving-man."
"The Lady Turned Serving-Man" by Anonymous British
"Where are the dear illusions fled
Which sooth'd my former hours?
Where is the path that fancy spread,
Ah, vainly spread with flowers?
"An American Tale" by Helen Maria Williams

In news:'s Andy Katz has the story: Former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl will receive a multiple-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA's committee on infractions, and his three former assistants.
The Oregonian/2006 The former Siam Society space, a former power sub station, will become Alberta Station, a neighborhood pub.
Former Pennsylvania Sen Rick Santorum has a significant lead over former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney in Louisiana heading into Saturday's primary, according to a survey conducted Monday by a Republican polling firm.
The former defense secretary and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff aren't among them.
Author and former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg and Marvin Kalb, a former NBC and CBS reporter now with the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy address the issue.
McCree Jr, a former Solicitor General under President Carter and a former Federal judge, died Sunday night at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Richard Blake Ray was sentenced to life in prison and fined $10,000 Wednesday for storming into his former workplace in Waco on a Sunday afternoon last July and shooting his son-in-law and a former co-worker in a fit of rage.
The former union leader and Gov Jon Corzine's former girlfriend recently started a gig at 101.5 FM.
Some of Dallas' highest-profile businessmen, including former Dallas Cowboys owner H. R Bum Bright, are targets of an Internal Revenue Service probe--which amounts to a double whammy for this famous pack of former bankers.
Former state Sen Howard Lee, a Democrat, who is also former chair of the N.C. Board of Education (also, former chair of the N.C.
The Nets introduced their former players, their former officials and their former owners one last time in Newark.
Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic attends his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague May 16.
The race to win the Christian-right vote has already narrowed to a battle between former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee, say activists.
Julie Correa, the former Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School PE teacher, who is in prison for molesting a former student.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, now representing the commissioner's office, saw his former player go down Saturday night after diving for Jhonny Peralta's single and raced to the Yankees' training room.

In science:

For the former, a mutation must be present in both strings at the same position to be effective.
Random deaths in a computational model for age-structured populations
The former choice leads to generalized Drinfeld-Sokolov hierarchies, while the latter – to modified generalized Drin feld-Sokolov hierarchies.
Solutions to WDVV from generalized Drinfeld-Sokolov hierarchies
The similarity between equations (9) and (10) suggests that the former is a special case of the latter.
On Fractional Diffusion and its Relation with Continuous Time Random Walks
The reason for the former extension is that the semantic rules are conditional.
From Syntactic Theories to Interpreters: A Specification Language and Its Compilation
For example, the Solar System can be correctly described from both the standpoint of the Sun and the Earth since the superiority of the heliocentric system consists certainly not in the reliability of the former and unreliability of the latter description.
Quantum Theory within the Framework of General Relativity