pro forma

pro for·​ma | \(ˌ)prō-ˈfȯr-mə \

Definition of pro forma 

1 : made or carried out in a perfunctory manner or as a formality

2 : based on financial assumptions or projections: such as

a : reflecting a transaction (such as a merger) or other development as if it had been or will be in effect for a past or future period a pro forma balance sheet

b : excluding usually extraordinary charges or expenses (as from acquisitions, restructuring, or the write-down of goodwill) often in order to present a more attractive financial report pro forma income

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Did You Know?

A lot of things are done for the sake of appearances. A teacher might get officially observed and evaluated every three years, even though everyone knows she's terrific and the whole thing is strictly pro forma. A critic might say that a orchestral conductor gave a pro forma performance, since his heart wasn't in it. A business owner might make a pro forma appearance at the funeral of a politician's mother, never having met her but maybe hoping for a favor from her son sometime in the future. In business, pro forma has some special meanings; a pro forma invoice, for example, will list all the items being sent but, unlike a true invoice, won't be an actual bill.

Examples of pro forma in a Sentence

The meeting was strictly pro forma, since the decision had already been made.

Recent Examples on the Web

The combined entity will employ about 200,000 security personnel and generate pro forma revenue of $7 billion, according to the release. David Smagalla, WSJ, "Allied Universal Buying U.S. Security Associates for About $1 Billion," 16 July 2018 While both Pence and Trump offered denunciations of anti-Semitism, their words felt pro forma in light of their actions. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "My Jewish wedding was the day of the Pittsburgh shooting. Anti-Semites threatened it.," 2 Nov. 2018 One person added Therapy Brands expects to generate $45 million of pro forma revenue for the year. Laura Cooper, WSJ, "Firm Weighs Sale of Therapy Brands," 20 May 2018 The Senate had already been expected to hold brief pro forma sessions in August, preventing any recess appointments. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "GOP Cancels Most of Senate’s August Recess," 5 June 2018 After all, hopping on the bandwagon of a European soccer team is so pro forma for American fans. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Why American Soccer Fans Should Root for... Russia?," 12 June 2018 The action was pro forma, but notable for the stern tone and list of accusations against North Korea just 10 days after the warm meeting between Trump and Kim. Anne Gearan,, "Trump declares North Korea still a threat, despite his claim after historic summit," 23 June 2018 In turn, the gulf monarchs have made only pro forma protests against Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Who Is Behind Trump’s Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend," 13 June 2018 Illustration: Christopher Serra All the partners stayed quiet or offered pro forma objections, thereby passing the test—except the Palestinians. Daniel J. Arbess, WSJ, "Is Trump Following a Grand Mideast Strategy?," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pro forma.' 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 pro forma

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pro forma

Latin, for form

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Statistics for pro forma

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pro forma

The first known use of pro forma was in 1823

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More Definitions for pro forma

pro forma


English Language Learners Definition of pro forma

: done or existing as something that is usual or required but that has little true meaning or importance

pro forma

pro for·​ma | \prō-ˈfȯr-mə \

Legal Definition of pro forma 

1 : made or carried out in a perfunctory manner or as a formality

2 : provided or made in advance to describe items or projections a pro forma invoice

History and Etymology for pro forma

Latin, for the sake of form

Comments on pro forma

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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