Does writing,

Former technologist at Foobar, Inc. and Hello, World Ltd.

have a deprecating tone to it? Say, as opposed to,

Previously a technologist at Foobar, Inc. and Hello, World Ltd.

That is, is former a word reserved for describing something (a state or position) once held but then revoked? It seems more often used in such a light, but I'm not sure whether it's meant that way.

  • Former telegrapher, Andrew Carnegie ... // Former millionaire, Burt Reynolds ... Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 21:23
  • 2
    The word has no negative connotations as far as I see it. It means 'used to be, but is no longer'. Former president, former singer with the band etc
    – Mynamite
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 0:07
  • I don't see how one can deduce a bad/wrong/false impression just by 'former'. It doesn't convey anything negative to me. Just a fact stated out.
    – camelbrush
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 0:42
  • @camelbrush - I did not mean by deduction that a word would mean something it does not; but because words sometimes gain or lose connotations over time, I wasn't sure if "former" gained a negative connotation, as I've heard the term used more oft than not to describe chairmen who were found committing fraud, or commnity leaders who had passed away, and such. It seems this is personal experience though, not shared by others: that's what I sought to find out. Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


Former does not indicate or imply that the position was revoked, removed, withdrawn, or in any way terminated for any negative reason. It merely means it was, but is no more. This could be for many reasons, so no particular reason can be inferred.

(Also, self-deprecating means that a person is referring to himself or herself in a deprecating way. You don't really mean to say self-deprecating; you mean to ask whether the term former in and of itself is deprecating no matter who says it.)

  • Thanks! (For the correction on self-deprecating, too; edited.) Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 4:19

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