12 Other Ways to Say “Former Colleague”

Are you looking for a way to describe a person you used to work with? In this article, we’ll confirm whether or not it’s appropriate to say “former colleague.”

Additionally, we’ll provide you with some alternatives to this phrase that can all be used in a professional setting.

Other Ways to Say “Former Colleague”

  • Former associate
  • Ex-coworker
  • Former co-worker 
  • Ex-colleague 
  • Former employee
  • Former team member 
  • One-time colleague
  • Former teammate 
  • Old colleague
  • Previous colleague
  • One-time co-worker
  • Previous associate


  • Firstly, “former colleague” is a grammatically correct and professional phrase that people use to refer to someone that they used to work with.
  • Secondly, as a professional alternative, you can use the phrase “former associate.”
  • Finally, for an alternative with a more informal feel, try using “ex-coworker.”

Now that we’ve provided a list of synonyms, we’re going to give you more information about our favorite professional and informal alternatives. This includes describing which scenarios each one should be used in and providing examples of how they are incorporated into work emails.

Finally, we’ll address when it’s correct to say “former colleague” and show you an example sentence for this phrase as well. So, keep on reading!

Former Associate (Professional)

If you’re wondering how to address a former colleague professionally, try using “former associate.”

Firstly, this term is polite and respectful, so it’s a great option to use when you’re speaking about someone you used to work with that you hold in high esteem. 

Moreover, as a particularly professional phrase, you might want to use this option when you’re speaking to external clients and are trying to project a sophisticated image of your company. However, “former colleague” is still appropriate in this scenario.

Lastly, here is an example of what this phrase looks like in an email:

Dear Tanya,

My former associate, Brian, completed a thorough handover of your account before leaving.

We are aiming to make this transition process as smooth as possible for you. 

Consequently, please feel free to come to me with any questions or concerns.

Kind regards,

Ex-Coworker (Informal)

An informal synonym for “former colleague” is “ex-coworker.”

This option is still professional but is more appropriate to use in casual conversations, e.g., when conversing with another colleague.

However, we wouldn’t recommend using this alternative when you are speaking to clients unless you have established a friendly relationship with them where you communicate in a casual register. 

Otherwise, you would be better off using “former colleague,” as it projects a more professional tone and indicates respect and a sense of unity with the person you used to work with. Furthermore, this is useful, as clients must view your team as cohesive. 

Here is an example of what this phrase looks like in an email:

Morning Steve,

Remember our ex-coworker, Harry?

I just stumbled upon his LinkedIn, and he’s now working as a professional magician. The photos are incredible.


Is It Correct to Say “Former Colleague”?

“Former colleague” is a grammatically correct phrase that you can use to refer to someone you used to work with.

Furthermore, it’s a professional phrase that is appropriate to use in formal scenarios.

In short, you can use our list of synonyms to change your wording from time to time, but the original phrase is just as good in most settings.

Here’s an example sentence making use of this phrase:

A former colleague of mine is a manager there now, so I should be able to get us a discount.

We hope you have found this article useful and now feel comfortable using the phrase “former colleague” and its alternatives. If so, why not bookmark this page so you can return and find these synonyms whenever you need them?