\ ˈfȯrm How to pronounce form (audio) \

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
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


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

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Other Words from form


formability \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce formability (audio) \ noun
formable \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce formable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Its fine form culminated in an historic Coppa Italia win over Juventus in June, winning the club's first major trophy since 2014. Matias Grez, CNN, "Champions League draw: European giants discover their fate," 10 July 2020 The fair plans to return to its traditional form in 2021. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ozaukee County Fair will not be open to the public this year, will be limited to specific judging and auctions," 10 July 2020 It's earned more than 500 reviews, for its form fitting look and comfortable feel. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 10 best deals from Lululemon's massive surprise sale," 9 July 2020 But as Florida has become an epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., Mr. Trump told Van Susteren that the convention in its current form is not concrete. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Trump splits with Fauci over coronavirus surge, says "we are in a good place"," 8 July 2020 His simple gray shirt and sweatpants were too small, stretching over his athletic form. Seija Rankin,, "Get a first look at Lore, the new novel from The Darkest Minds creator Alexandra Bracken," 8 July 2020 Carried by rats and fleas, plague is usually treatable with antibiotics in its ‘‘bubonic’’ form, which attacks lymph nodes and causes fevers and boils. Gerry Shih,, "Bubonic plague triggers health alert in China after herder is infected," 7 July 2020 All-Star away (joining Oladipo in his own All-Star form) from competing for the conference finals. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "How Pacers' starting lineups and bench rotations will adjust without Victor Oladipo," 6 July 2020 Some Palestinians, including within the leadership itself, argue that the PA, rather than working toward independence, has in its current form merely become a security contractor, pacifying its own population in Israel’s ultimate interest. Tareq Baconi, The New York Review of Books, "Israel’s Annexation Plan, a New Era in Palestinian Resistance," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The hologram features a myriad of lights that swarm like fireflies to form into a 3-D image of Floyd, with his name depicted around his image. USA TODAY, "George Floyd’s family gathers in Virginia to unveil hologram over Robert E. Lee statue," 30 July 2020 Gliders have since found a variety of uses including tracking hitherto unseen currents that form part of the food web for ocean fisheries and measuring melting Antarctic ice shelves by sampling the declining salinity of water underneath them. John Fialka, Scientific American, "A Robotic Mini-Armada Will Probe the Secrets of Hurricanes," 14 July 2020 His comments about Trump were offensive because Trump is known for scapegoating Latinos and immigrants, the very groups that form Goya's loyal consumer base. Raul A. Reyes For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Goya was a staple in Latino households. It likely won't be anymore," 11 July 2020 In urban areas like Detroit, neighborhood community groups that form the backbone of get-out-the-vote efforts aren’t holding face-to-face meetings, potentially blunting their reach. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "In a campaign marked by Trump, COVID-19 and protests, no one is sure what will work," 7 July 2020 Other officers used their bicycles to form a cordon around Murdoch, Krenzien and Zawikowski, and none intervened to stop what the notice of claims calls excessive use of force. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cyclist arrested at protest files $500,000 claim with city," 2 July 2020 Read about migratory birds form the National Museum for Natural History – and build your own binoculars. The Arizona Republic, "Parents: Download free road trip-themed activities guide from The Republic, Smithsonian," 1 July 2020 Unexpected bonds form as the couples let loose and enjoy the isolation, but events take an ominous turn as increasingly strange environmental phenomena begin to warp their peaceful evening. Clark Collis,, "The Beach House trailer teases a body horror nightmare," 26 June 2020 The model resembles a human embryo around 18 to 21 days old — complete with the layers of the cells that will eventually form the nervous system, muscles, the gut, and other cells and structures in the human body. Natalya Ortolano, STAT, "A new embryo-like model could help scientists study the ‘black box’ of early human development," 11 June 2020

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


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


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


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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Statistics for form

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Form.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for form


How to pronounce -form (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of form

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type or kind of something
: one of several or many different ways in which something is seen, experienced, or produced
: the shape of something



English Language Learners Definition of form (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (something) to have a particular shape or form
: to get, create, or develop (something) over a period of time
: to begin to exist or to be seen


\ 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


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.


\ 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

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on form

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for form

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with form

Spanish Central: Translation of form

Nglish: Translation of form for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of form for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about form

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