1. One that forms; a maker or creator:
a former of ideas.
2. Chiefly British A member of a school form:
a fifth former.
3. Occurring earlier in time.
4. Of, relating to, or taking place in the past.
5. Coming before in place or order; foregoing.
6. Being the first of two mentioned.
7. Having been in the past:
a former ambassador.
8. Middle English [comparative of] forme [first]
中古英语  forme的比较级 [第一]
9. from Old English forma * see per 1
源自 古英语 forma *参见 per 1
10. Grammarians have often insisted that the phrases the former and the latter should be used only to refer to the first of two things and the second of two things, respectively:
语法家们经常坚持认为，the former 和 the latter 应该只用于分别替代两件事中的第一件和第二件：
“But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake, and the former was a lulu and the latter was a fake.”
11. It is not difficult to find examples of violations of this rule in the works of reputable writers. But the fact that former and latter are plainly comparatives will make many readers uneasy when the words are used in enumerations of more than two things, much as would the analagous incorrect use of a comparative in a sentence such as Her boys are 7, 9, and 13; only the younger was born in California.
不难发现有名望的作家的作品里有违背此规则的例子。但是事实是former 和 latter 仅仅是相对的，当列举两个以上的词时，许多读音就不容易弄清了， 许多时候在比较时有可能出现下句里的不正确用法：如她的儿子分别是七岁、九岁和十三岁；只有最小的儿子出生在加利福尼