a shadow of (one's) former self

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a shadow of (one's) former self

Someone of something that has changed dramatically to become decreased in vivacity in some way, often following negative circumstances or some traumatic event. Ever since Tim was in that accident, he's been a shadow of his former self. She's so quiet now, like a shadow of her former self. Does anyone know what happened to the bubbly girl we once knew? Many of the town's residents moved away, leaving it a shadow of its former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

a shadow of your former self

FORMAL
COMMON
1. If someone or something is a shadow of their former self, they are very much less powerful or impressive than they used to be. Our ninety-year-old dad was but a shadow of his former self. But the side which played such thrilling football last season now looks a shadow of its former self.
2. If someone is a shadow of their former self, they are very much thinner than they used to be. I couldn't believe how much weight she'd lost — she's a shadow of her former self.
See also: former, of, shadow
References in periodicals archive ?
But he was spared an immediate prison sentence after Mold Crown Court heard that he was a shadow of his former self after being kicked in the head by a horse.
The defendant was no longer a partner in the farm, his future would be that of a hired hand, and it was clear that he was a shadow of his former self and had memory loss.
Injury: Emyr Jones Evans, 51, was said to be a shadow of his former self
The one in Los Angeles was a shadow of his former self, a bent-over shadow with a bad back.