\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

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

Leonard and Penny, realizing their friend is full in crisis mode, call in back-up in the form of Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 6 Dec. 2018 As for trading Seager, the Mariners should be willing to eat at least half of the dollars owed in the form of cash or a return of a player with a fair amount of money owed. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "What’s next for the Mariners’ step back? Or is it, who’s next?," 5 Dec. 2018 Marvel Studios has already teased major announcements this week in the form of new Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 film trailers. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Marvel reportedly wants to follow Black Panther’s success with Shang-Chi film," 3 Dec. 2018 Yet as of last night, there's been another plot twist, which came in the form of interest from another investment group—which means there's still hope for WOW Air. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Is Wow Air—and Its $99 Flights—Going Away?," 30 Nov. 2018 The market just loves monogamy, or specifically recurring revenue, and Microsoft for a long time has had just this tens of billions of dollars of recurring revenue in the form of Office. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Microsoft is more valuable than Apple again. Why?," 30 Nov. 2018 After Oakleigh's passing, the singer honored her with a special tribute in the form of a tattoo on his arm. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Walker Hayes Attends His First Award Show After His Daughter's Tragic Death," 15 Nov. 2018 Meghan Markle's latest appearance doesn't come in the form of attending a public event, but instead posing in a sweet family portrait shared in honor of Prince Charles' 70th birthday. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears Givenchy in Prince Charles' 70th Birthday Portrait," 13 Nov. 2018 Remove from heat and, using an electric mixer, beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until glossy, soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Marshmallow Ghosts," 19 Sep. 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.

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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

14 Dec 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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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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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