\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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Named for famed American writer and cartoonist James Thurber, the prize is one of the highest forms of recognition for the genre. Sara Cardine,, "LCF author Kristen Brakeman named semifinalist in Thurber Prize for Humor contest," 12 July 2018 The proposal would require every district employee to file a conflict of interest disclosure form when hired. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Here's who is leading Scottsdale schools in the wake of controversy," 12 July 2018 The report claims the winger has received interest from across Europe from the likes of Sevilla, Valencia, West Ham and Southampton following a consistent run of form with Torino over the last two seasons., "Leicester City Turn to Former Tottenham Winger in Search for Riyad Mahrez Replacement," 12 July 2018 So who is better to be studying some kind of form of energy? Leah Garchik,, "George Shultz back at work after ‘little’ health scare," 12 July 2018 In Posturing, a new book by Self Publish Be Happy, 21 contemporary fashion photographers use the body in a variety of forms to create spreads that are modern, daring, and whimsically bizarre. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "Celebrating the Body As a Fashion Oddity," 11 July 2018 But airline travel, after all, is one of the safest forms of travel. Amy Thompson, WIRED, "The Race to Get Tourists to Suborbital Space Is Heating Up," 10 July 2018 And while baklava in a variety of forms is the key word on the dessert list, various rich choices, including dark chocolate lava cake, range from $8-$11. Joan Cary, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Basil’s Greek Dining in Aurora," 8 July 2018 The first sign of distress arrived a couple of weeks ago, Sporting Kansas City falling out of the form that propelled it to the top of the Western Conference. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "Sporting KC scores twice after halftime but winless streak hits three against Toronto," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to Policy IJKAA-R, once CCSD’s Chief Academic Officer receives the complaint, a committee will be formed to review the material. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "South Carolina Police Union Whines About Police Brutality Novel The Hate U Give Being on A School's Summer Reading List," 4 July 2018 These gangs and cartels our government is supposedly so concerned with keeping out of our country were not only formed on home turf, but are now running rampant in their own countries and are perfectly happy that way. Cara Santana, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Border Officials Actually Think of Trump's Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy," 3 July 2018 In March, the FAA formed an aviation committee to assemble recommendations for a regulatory approach to the commercial launch industry. Justin Bachman,, "The Billionaire Space Race Is Making Life Difficult for Airlines," 27 June 2018 Some of his pitching habits were formed at Waukegan. Lamond Pope, Lake County News-Sun, "Next step: Waukegan’s Jean Casanova moves up a level in Texas Rangers farm system," 18 June 2018 In the case of slime molds, their cytoskeleton may form smart, complex networks able to process sensory information. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 The two formed a relationship years ago, when Mack was basketball coach at Xavier and Stewart a promising young prospect. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Isaiah Stewart on Chris Mack: 'He’s going to win, no matter what'," 13 July 2018 Queues formed again outside banks, this time to withdraw the notes that had been given a stay of execution. The Economist, "Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce," 12 July 2018 Affectionately known as Coco, the Argentine has formed a strong bond with the Lilywhite faithful., "Tottenham Hotspur Fans Hope for Erik Lamela Stay as Clear-Out Rumours Begin to Gain Traction," 12 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.

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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


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

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Learn More about form

Dictionary Entries near form

for love or money

for luck






Statistics for form

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for form

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

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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

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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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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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