for·​mat | \ ˈfȯr-ˌmat How to pronounce format (audio) \

Definition of format

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the shape, size, and general makeup (as of something printed)
2 : general plan of organization, arrangement, or choice of material (as for a television show)
3 : a method of organizing data (as for storage) various file formats


formatted; formatting

Definition of format (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to arrange (something, such as material to be printed or stored data) in a particular format
2 : to prepare (something, such as a computer disk) for storing data in a particular format

Other Words from format


formatter noun

Examples of format in a Sentence

Noun The journals are available in electronic format. The file is saved in MP3 format. Verb The book is formatted in several different styles. The data was improperly formatted.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Carlsen has won every World Chess Championship since then, but had already expressed frustration with the format of the competition. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 21 July 2022 In 2015, Major League Baseball changed the format of the 10-out Home Run Derby. Xl Media, cleveland, 19 July 2022 Sources also say that rather than following the episodic format of the original series, the new show would take a more serialized approach, with the team working to solve one case per season. Joe Otterson, Variety, 13 July 2022 Young Mungo replicates the bildungsroman format of Shuggie Bain, where the growing up equals a growing away from the mother figure—but before Mungo can do so, Mo-Maw’s draw on him is, for much of the novel, as powerful as Agnes’s is on Shuggie. Claire Jarvis, The Atlantic, 12 July 2022 The cooking competition involves children ages 8 to 13, and it is based on the format of the British series Junior MasterChef, with skills and pressure tests, and a mystery box challenge. Elaine Rewolinski, Journal Sentinel, 11 July 2022 Because The Queen of Flow fits very much into the soapy format of telenovelas that easily reel you in and keep you hooked. Andy Meek, BGR, 7 July 2022 That meant casting big names while still keeping the format of the show the same as any other season of The Challenge to entertain anyone watching no matter their personal history with the show. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 6 July 2022 The current format of holding Gulf-wide sales was put in place under Obama because of dwindling interest in offshore leases. Janet Mcconnaughey And Matthew Brown, Chron, 3 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Oyenyin uses the acronym to help format the book, labeling chapters detailing her experiences with those key terms and highlighting lessons from those times in bold. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 3 May 2022 Local school boards within the state and across the country are wrestling with how to format instruction related to race and gender that is both age-appropriate and congruent with family values. Seamus Mcavoy, Hartford Courant, 22 Apr. 2022 See this week’s entry form or Style Conversational column for how to format your entry. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 The question remains how Napier and his staff will format the spring game, given the varied approaches of previous coaches. Edgar Thompson,, 31 Jan. 2022 The show quickly set itself apart by capitalizing on its mystery to format as a thrilling psychodrama. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 10 Jan. 2022 Will the Prep Challenges format differ from a regular high school or college game? Adam Zagoria, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 And there will be the traditional Stanley Cup playoffs format after a temporary realignment last year. USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2021 Have your Recruiters prep the candidate on how to map experiences to answer interview questions in a Situation Task Action Result (STAR) format and give training recommendations on books, resources and more., Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of format


1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1964, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for format


French or German; French, from German, from Latin formatus, past participle of formare to form, from forma

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Format.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for format


for·​mat | \ ˈfȯr-ˌmat How to pronounce format (audio) \

Kids Definition of format

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the general organization or arrangement of something


formatted; formatting

Kids Definition of format (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to organize or arrange in a certain way
2 : to prepare for storing computer data format a disk

More from Merriam-Webster on format

Nglish: Translation of format for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of format for Arabic Speakers


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