pro forma

pro for·​ma | \ (ˌ)prō-ˈfȯr-mə How to pronounce pro forma (audio) \

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 Passage of the measure in the House next month is considered pro forma, as is Mr. Biden’s signature. Coral Davenport, New York Times, "Senate Reinstates Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane," 28 Apr. 2021 Fall in love with your pro forma and tighten up your business plan. Daniel Kodsi, Forbes, "Three Critical Things To Learn Before Becoming A Real Estate Developer," 19 Apr. 2021 Such acquittal motions by the defense are normally made at the end of the state's case, are largely pro forma legal actions in criminal trials, and are rarely if ever granted by courts. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, "Derek Chauvin trial live: Defense to call at least one more witness after medical expert says George Floyd's cause of death 'undetermined'," 16 Apr. 2021 That unassuming quality extends to the music too; Rod Wave isn’t an especially gifted rapper and his tales of struggle and success tend to be relatively pro forma. David Browne, Rolling Stone, "Best Albums of March 2021: Lana Del Rey, Serpentwithfeet, Selena Gomez, Adult Mom," 5 Apr. 2021 The departure from the Big Ten was given pro forma approval in May. Phil Rosenthal,, "So much for Chicago’s Big Ten team: 75 years ago, the University of Chicago told the conference it wanted out," 8 Mar. 2021 The 14th Five-Year Plan will get a pro forma review by the congress and be approved at the closing session on 11 March. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "China announces major boost for R&D, but plan lacks ambitious climate targets," 5 Mar. 2021 Finally, five days after its release, when the video had been watched nearly a hundred million times, Putin offered up a pro forma denial. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "The Russians Protesting Putin in Their Personal Lives," 4 Mar. 2021 This level of support to overturn the election result raises the prospect of whether the once-pro forma exercise of certification might now devolve every four years into a heated partisan spectacle — or, worse, riots. Mark Leibovich, New York Times, "Don’t Care for This Impeachment? Wait Until Next Year," 16 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for pro forma

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The first known use of pro forma was in 1823

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Statistics for pro forma

Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pro forma.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce pro forma (audio) \

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

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