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former (adj.)

"earlier in time," mid-12c., comparative of forme "first, earliest in time or order," from Old English forma "first," from Proto-Germanic *fruma-, *furma-, from PIE *pre-mo-, suffixed (superlative) form of root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, first." Probably patterned on formest (see foremost); it is an unusual case of a comparative formed from a superlative (the Old English -m is a superlative suffix). As "first of two," 1580s.

former (n.)

"one who gives form," mid-14c., agent noun from form (v.). The Latin agent noun was formator.

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Definitions of former from WordNet
1
former (adj.)
referring to the first of two things or persons mentioned (or the earlier one or ones of several); "the novel was made into a film in 1943 and again in 1967; I prefer the former version to the latter one";
former (adj.)
belonging to the distant past;
former generations
Synonyms: early / other
former (adj.)
(used especially of persons) of the immediate past;
the former president
Synonyms: late / previous
former (adj.)
belonging to some prior time;
our former glory
Synonyms: erstwhile / old / onetime / one-time / quondam / sometime
2
former (n.)
the first of two or the first mentioned of two;
Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the former is remembered today
From wordnet.princeton.edu