con·​form kən-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce conform (audio)
conformed; conforming; conforms

transitive verb

: to give the same shape, outline, or contour to : bring into harmony or accord
conform furrows to the slope of the land

intransitive verb

: to be similar or identical
also : to be in agreement or harmony
used with to or with
changes that conform with our plans
: to be obedient or compliant
usually used with to
conform to another's wishes
The building doesn't conform to local regulations.
: to act in accordance with prevailing standards or customs
the pressure to conform
conformer noun
conformism noun

Did you know?

Conform, with its prefix con-, "with" or "together", means basically "to adopt the form of those around you". Thus, employee behavior must usually conform with basic company policies. A certain philosophy may be said to conform with American values (even if we sometimes have a hard time agreeing on exactly what those are). And a Maine Coon cat or a Dandie Dinmont terrier must conform to its breed requirements in order to be registered for breeding purposes. Being a conformist is usually a safe bet; being a nonconformist, who ignores society's standards and the whole idea of conformity, can be a bit dangerous but also sometimes more fun.

Choose the Right Synonym for conform

adapt, adjust, accommodate, conform, reconcile mean to bring one thing into correspondence with another.

adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances.

adapted themselves to the warmer climate

adjust suggests bringing into a close and exact correspondence or harmony such as exists between parts of a mechanism.

adjusted the budget to allow for inflation

accommodate may suggest yielding or compromising to effect a correspondence.

businesses accommodating themselves to the new political reality

conform applies to bringing into accordance with a pattern, example, or principle.

refused to conform to society's values

reconcile implies the demonstration of the underlying compatibility of things that seem to be incompatible.

tried to reconcile what he said with what I knew

Examples of conform in a Sentence

Most teenagers feel pressure to conform. the list conforms with the contents of the trunk
Recent Examples on the Web His female characters, less able to force their environments to conform to their egos, tend to see the world more clearly. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 The pressure to conform to societal standards might end up being a hindrance to our mental health. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 11 Sep. 2023 The elastic stays in tip-top shape and the sock conforms tightly to your foot through dozens of washes. John Thompson, Men's Health, 8 Sep. 2023 Then there are rectangular options that are more like a smaller version of a bed pillow, such as the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow. Material Travel pillows designed to conform to the shape of your head and neck are often made out of responsive materials, such as memory foam or foam microbeads. Theresa Holland, Peoplemag, 29 Aug. 2023 The contracts will ultimately be modified to conform to the whatever agreement the AMPTP reaches with SAG-AFTRA. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 14 Aug. 2023 Will the killer conform to Hollywood’s unwritten rule of refraining from murdering animals, and so spare the life of a pit bull, Diva, who lives with another opponent, described in the chapter heading as The Brute (Sala Baker)? Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 By ensuring breastfeeding pillows are sufficiently firm, cannot conform to an infant’s face and parents are properly educated on using them, Dr. Karp believes that babies can be kept safe. Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal, Parents, 29 Aug. 2023 The species’ flexible ankle joints that can rotate backward, short and stout legs, large paws, long tail, and sharp claws with specialized padding that conforms to the shape of branches contribute to their impressive arboreal skills, says OKC Zoo. Saman Shafiq, USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conform.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French conformer, from Latin conformare, from com- + formare to form, from forma form

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of conform was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near conform

Cite this Entry

“Conform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​form kən-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce conform (audio)
: to bring into harmony
conform my behavior to the circumstances
: to be similar or identical
the data conforms to the pattern
: to act in obedience or agreement
especially : to adapt oneself to accepted standards or customs
conformer noun
conformist noun

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
con·​form kən-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce conform (audio)
: to be in accordance : correspond in character
specifically : to be in accordance with the provisions of a contract
conformance noun
conformity noun

More from Merriam-Webster on conform

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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