former


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a shadow of (one's) former self

Someone or 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

be a shadow of (someone or something's) former self

To be weaker or inferior in comparison to how someone or something was previously, often due to negative circumstances. After suffering from a prolonged illness, Sharon was a shadow of her former self. This town is a shadow of its former self after so many of its residents have moved away.
See also: former, of, shadow

be a ghost of (someone or something's) former self

To be weaker or inferior in comparison to how someone or something was previously, often due to negative circumstances. After suffering from a prolonged illness, Sharon was a ghost of her former self. This town is a ghost of its former self after so many of its residents have moved away.
See also: former, ghost, of

*shadow of oneself

 and *a shadow of itself; *a shadow of one's former self
Fig. someone or something that is not as strong, healthy, full, or lively as before. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) The sick man was a shadow of his former self. The abandoned mansion was merely a shadow of its old self.
See also: of, shadow

shadow of one's self

Also, shadow of one's former or old self . A person, group, or thing that has become weaker in physical or mental capacities or in power or authority. For example, After that long battle with the flu, he was just a shadow of his old self, or This new administration is but a shadow of itself, or The revised constitution is a shadow of its former self. The use of shadow for an emaciated person dates from the late 1500s, and by about 1800 the word began to be used for other kinds of attenuation.
See also: 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

be a shadow/ghost of your/its former ˈself

not have the strength, influence, etc. that you/something used to have: He’d been ill for some time, and he looked a shadow of his former self.The old house, which had once been so full of life, was now just a ghost of its former self.
See also: former, ghost, of, shadow

shadow of one's (former/old) self, a

Reduced or diminished, in vigor or size by age, illness, or fatigue, or in wealth or power. This term was a hyperbole for being emaciated as long ago as the sixteenth century. Later it was used for other kinds of reduced circumstances, as by Sir Walter Scott in Guy Mannering (1815): “He appeared to wither into the shadow of himself.”
See also: of, shadow
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