One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘the former Bishop of London’
one-time, erstwhile, sometime, late, as was
previous, foregoing, preceding, old, earlier, prior, precursory, antecedent, ex-, past, last
rare quondam, whilom, anterior, precedent
2‘in former times’
earlier, old, past, bygone, long-ago, forgotten, immemorial, remote
ancient, primeval, primordial, prehistoric, antediluvian
gone by, long ago, long departed, long gone, long past, of old
literary of yore, olden, foregone
rare primigenial, pristine
3‘those who take the former view’
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