form

noun
\ ˈfȯrm How to pronounce form (audio) \
plural forms

Essential Meaning of form

1 : a type or kind of something Coal is a form of carbon. a rare/deadly form of cancer See More Examplesa popular form of entertainment different forms of life = different life forms [=different types of living beings] an ancient form of music an art formHide
2 : one of several or many different ways in which something is seen, experienced, or produced The medicine can be taken in the form of a liquid or pill. = The medicine can be taken in pill or liquid form. His essays are now available in book form. [=his essays have been published in a book] See More Examplesthe written/spoken form of the language Antisocial behavior can take many forms. [=there are many different types of antisocial behavior] Most of his wealth is in the form of stocks. [=most of his wealth consists of stocks]Hide
3 : the shape of something the building's massive form a style of architecture that emphasizes form over function

Full Definition of form

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : the shape and structure of something as distinguished from its material the building's massive form
b : a body (as of a person) especially in its external appearance or as distinguished from the face : figure the female form
c archaic : beauty
2 : the essential nature of a thing as distinguished from its matter: such as
b : the component of a thing that determines its kind
3a : established method of expression or proceeding : procedure according to rule or rote also : a standard or expectation based on past experience : precedent true to form, the champions won again
b : a prescribed and set order of words : formula the form of the marriage service
4 : a printed or typed document with blank spaces for insertion of required or requested information tax forms
5a(1) : conduct regulated by extraneous (see extraneous sense 1) controls (as of custom or etiquette) : ceremony
(2) : show without substance
b : manner or conduct as tested by a prescribed or accepted standard rudeness is simply bad form
c : manner or style of performing or accomplishing according to recognized standards of technique a strong swimmer but weak on form
6a : the resting place or nest of a hare
b : a long seat : bench
7a : a supporting frame model of the human figure or part (such as the torso) of the human figure usually used for displaying apparel
b : a proportioned and often adjustable model for fitting clothes
c : a mold in which concrete is placed to set
8 : the printing type or other matter arranged and secured in a chase ready for printing
9a : one of the different modes of existence, action, or manifestation of a particular thing or substance : kind one form of respiratory disorder a form of art
b : a distinguishable group of organisms
d : one of the different aspects a word may take as a result of inflection or change of spelling or pronunciation verbal forms
e : a mathematical expression of a particular type a bilinear form a polynomial form
10a(1) : orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas) : manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)
(2) : a particular kind or instance of such arrangement the sonnet is a poetical form
b : pattern, schema arguments of the same logical form
c : the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art — compare content sense 2c
d : a visible and measurable unit defined by a contour : a bounded surface or volume
11 : a grade in a British school or in some American private schools
12a(1) : the past performance of a race horse
(2) : racing form
b : known ability to perform a singer at the top of her form
c : condition suitable for performing (as in athletic competition) back on form

— see also take form

form

verb
formed; forming; forms

Definition of form (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to give a particular shape to : shape or mold into a certain state or after a particular model form the dough into a ball a state formed along republican lines
b : to arrange themselves in the dancers formed a line
c : to model by instruction and discipline a mind formed by classical education
2 : to give form or shape to : fashion, construct She formed the dough into balls.
3 : to serve to make up or constitute : be an essential or basic element of Bonds formed the bulk of his estate.
4 : develop, acquire form a habit
5 : to arrange in order : draw up The battalion was formed into squares for all-around defense.
6a : to assume an inflection so as to produce (a form, such as a tense) forms the past in -ed
b : to combine to make (a compound word) "motor" and "cycle" form "motorcycle"

intransitive verb

1 : to become formed or shaped A clot was forming over the cut.
2 : to take form : come into existence : arise Storm clouds were forming over the hills.
3 : to take on a definite form, shape, or arrangement the platoon formed in columns
form on
: to take up a formation next to
variants: or formo-

Definition of form- (Entry 3 of 4)

: formic acid formate

Definition of -form (Entry 4 of 4)

: in the form or shape of : resembling filiform

Other Words from form

Verb

formability \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce -form (audio) \ noun
formable \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce -form (audio) \ adjective

Examples of form in a Sentence

Noun Coal is a form of carbon. a rare form of cancer a popular form of entertainment an ancient form of music the written form of the language a style of architecture that emphasizes form over function The shadowy forms of several people were visible through the smoke. Verb The friendship that they formed in school lasted a lifetime. Her early experiences played an important role in forming her personality. His ideas were not yet fully formed. The drug can help prevent blood clots from forming. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. A plan was gradually forming in my mind. A plan was gradually forming itself in my mind. An angry crowd was forming in the streets.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Still regaining in form after a series of physical issues, Andy Murray opted not to play for Britain. Andrew Dampf, ajc, 29 Nov. 2021 Certainly, few writers of any form touched the minds and souls of their fans as consistently and astutely as Sondheim did. Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY, 26 Nov. 2021 With Simmons, the only congratulations came in the form of a fist bump and a two-sentence conversation. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 26 Nov. 2021 Interestingly, roasted turkey, stuffing nor potatoes in any form hit the top three on the list. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 25 Nov. 2021 It is based on the idea that any form of biology anywhere in the universe will encode life’s information in complex assemblages of molecules that are measurably distinct from lifeless matter. Natalie Elliot, Scientific American, 23 Nov. 2021 In fact, any form of disability or discrimination could potentially serve as a barrier to accessing financial services, if the right guidelines, processes, and technologies are not in place. Forrester, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Many of the officers argued the jail shouldn't be allowed to stay open in any form. Barrett Emke For Cnn, CNN, 12 Nov. 2021 The Auto Club is advising those who are traveling to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include wearing masks on any form of public transportation and in some indoor areas, depending on the location. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Three German parties have reached a deal to form a new government that will end the era of longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Olaf Scholz, who is poised to replace her. Frank Jordans And Geir Moulson, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2021 Germany has been saddled with a similar power vacuum since elections in late September that reduced Chancellor Angela Merkel to caretaker status while her successor struggles to form a government. New York Times, 21 Nov. 2021 The baby is named Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. June 13 - Benjamin Netanyahu loses office for the first time in 12 years after rival Naftali Bennett wins a parliamentary vote to form a government. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 The parliament could then convene, elect a president and form a government. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Nov. 2021 The Czech presidency is largely ceremonial but the president chooses which political leader can try to form the next government. Fox News, 11 Oct. 2021 The leader of the strongest party usually gets a chance to form a new government. Karel Janicek, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Oct. 2021 Ultimately, David Cameron’s Conservatives won the election, but without a majority large enough to form a government—the first time this had happened since 1974. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 5 Oct. 2021 Ghani did not have a close relationship with him either, and the secretary's past attempt to press the U.N. to help form a new Afghan government that included the Taliban had fallen short. Margaret Brennan, CBS News, 1 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'form.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of form

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for form

Noun and Verb

Middle English forme, from Anglo-French furme, forme, from Latin forma form, beauty

Combining form

formic

Adjective combining form

French & Latin; French -forme, from Latin -formis, from forma

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Time Traveler for form

Time Traveler

The first known use of form was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near form

for luck

form

form-

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Form.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/form. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for form

form

noun
\ ˈfȯrm How to pronounce form (audio) \

Kids Definition of form

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : sort entry 1 sense 1, kind Coal is one form of carbon.
2 : the shape and structure of something We saw the bear's huge form.
3 : a printed sheet with blank spaces for information Fill out the form.
4 : a way of doing something There are different forms of worship.
5 : one of the different pronunciations, spellings, or inflections a word may have The plural form of "lady" is "ladies."
6 : a mold in which concrete is placed to set

form

verb
formed; forming

Kids Definition of form (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give form or shape to Practice forming the letter R.
2 : develop sense 5 He formed good study habits.
3 : to come or bring together in making The students formed a line.
4 : to take shape : come into being Fog forms in the valleys. Ideas were forming in her mind.

form

noun
\ ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce form (audio) \

Medical Definition of form

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the shape and structure of something as distinguished from its material
b : a body (as of a person) especially in its external appearance or as distinguished from the face
2 : a distinguishable group of organisms used especially to avoid taxonomic implications

form

transitive verb

Medical Definition of form (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a particular shape to : shape or mold into a certain state or after a particular model

intransitive verb

: to become formed or shaped a clot formed over the cut

form

noun

Legal Definition of form

1 : the structure of something (as a document) as distinguished from its matter a defect in form, not substance
2 : established procedure according to rule or practice — see also form of action
3 : a printed or typed document with blank spaces for insertion of required or requested information tax forms

More from Merriam-Webster on form

Nglish: Translation of form for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of form for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about form

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