\ˈfȯrm \

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

a : idea sense 4c

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

c : linguistic form

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from form


formability \ˌfȯr-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
formable \ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for form

Synonyms: Noun

decency, decorum, propriety

Synonyms: Verb

actualize, appear, arise, begin, break, commence, dawn, engender, materialize, originate, set in, spring, start

Antonyms: Noun

impropriety, indecency, indecorum

Antonyms: Verb

cease, end, stop

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of form in a Sentence


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.


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

Preventative measures can be taken in the form of covering sensitive skin with a cotton scarf when heading outdoors. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How to Prevent Red, Blotchy Winter Skin That Looks Like a Rorschach Test," 26 Nov. 2018 Here's his audition tape, in the form of a two-minute-and-11-seconds-long clip of him [checks notes again] basting a turkey, mashing potatoes, and applying whipped cream to pumpkin pie. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Gavin Leatherwood Bastes a Turkey in Netflix's Thanksgiving Spot," 21 Nov. 2018 The exoskeletons of those enduring life-forms will be coated with barriers that prevent toxins from entering their bodies. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 In the face of the near-constant harassment, march organizers and human rights workers have sought to provide the group some security in the form of two men in green vests who travel with them and try to ward off any attacks. Sonia Perez D., The Seattle Times, "In Mexico caravan, LGBTQ migrants stick together for safety," 13 Nov. 2018 That utility usually comes in the form of a skill or action, which is basically a voice assistant’s version of a mobile app. Rani Molla, Recode, "Voice tech like Alexa and Siri hasn’t found its true calling yet: Inside the voice assistant ‘revolution’," 12 Nov. 2018 Christmas decorations are already out at Target, so give yourself an early holiday present in the form of a flight deal ASAP. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Holiday Flights Seem Crazy Cheap Right Now," 16 Oct. 2018 As clock speeds tended to top out at 4GHz to 5GHz, parallelism—originally in the form of support for more processor threads, and later to more physical cores—kept the processor performance on an upward trajectory. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel debuts 9th-generation Core chips, including Core i9 and X-series parts, with a few twists," 8 Oct. 2018 Colorado is one of more than a dozen states whose state constitution technically still allows involuntary servitude as a form of criminal punishment. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Colorado passes Amendment A, voting to officially abolish prison slavery," 7 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a small pot, use a fork to combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water to form wet sand. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Churros with Chocolate-Caramel Sauce," 2 Oct. 2018 The game’s start was delayed as a bee hive was forming in the Hooks dugout. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Baseball game delayed after a massive bee swarm takes over the home dugout," 8 July 2018 In a first, astronomers witness the birth of a planet from gas and dust In the first convincing observation of its kind, astronomers have directly imaged a newborn planet still forming around its star. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: cycling and climate change, hidden pharma payments, and cursing surgeons," 6 July 2018 That formed so much of my identity and took so many years to undo. Matthew Sprout, Allure, "Margarita Levieva on Ageism in Hollywood and Playing Characters 10 Years Younger Than Herself," 16 Oct. 2018 Torii hired Masataka Taketsuru, who had studied distilling in Scotland, as an early Suntory executive, and in 1934 Taketsuru formed a competing company now known as Nikka. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Drink Whiskey: A Complete Guide," 1 Oct. 2018 Soaking your tattoo isn't good for it, because the water will slow down the healing process by deteriorating your newly-forming skin. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "21 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your First Tattoo," 2 Aug. 2018 Frosted glass sliding doors that suggest shoji screens form entrances and closet doors in each bedroom and bath. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Former Corktown bachelor pad is now a loft fit for the whole family," 14 July 2018 Their bodies are covered with soft, white feathers; colored skin on their heads forms a black mask and red cap., "Birth of 5 chicks signals comeback for Louisiana’s whooping crane," 13 July 2018

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.

See More

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


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


see form entry 1

Combining form


Adjective combining form

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about form

Dictionary Entries near form

for love or money

for luck






Statistics for form

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for form

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for form



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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on form

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with form

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on form

What made you want to look up form? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!