con·​form kən-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce conform (audio)
conformed; conforming; conforms

transitive verb

: to give the same shape, outline, or contour to : bring into harmony or accord
conform furrows to the slope of the land

intransitive verb

: to be similar or identical
also : to be in agreement or harmony
used with to or with
changes that conform with our plans
: to be obedient or compliant
usually used with to
conform to another's wishesThe building doesn't conform to local regulations.
: to act in accordance with prevailing standards or customs
the pressure to conform
conformer noun
conformism noun

Did you know?

Conform, with its prefix con-, "with" or "together", means basically "to adopt the form of those around you". Thus, employee behavior must usually conform with basic company policies. A certain philosophy may be said to conform with American values (even if we sometimes have a hard time agreeing on exactly what those are). And a Maine Coon cat or a Dandie Dinmont terrier must conform to its breed requirements in order to be registered for breeding purposes. Being a conformist is usually a safe bet; being a nonconformist, who ignores society's standards and the whole idea of conformity, can be a bit dangerous but also sometimes more fun.

Choose the Right Synonym for conform

adapt, adjust, accommodate, conform, reconcile mean to bring one thing into correspondence with another.

adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances.

adapted themselves to the warmer climate

adjust suggests bringing into a close and exact correspondence or harmony such as exists between parts of a mechanism.

adjusted the budget to allow for inflation

accommodate may suggest yielding or compromising to effect a correspondence.

businesses accommodating themselves to the new political reality

conform applies to bringing into accordance with a pattern, example, or principle.

refused to conform to society's values

reconcile implies the demonstration of the underlying compatibility of things that seem to be incompatible.

tried to reconcile what he said with what I knew

Example Sentences

Most teenagers feel pressure to conform. the list conforms with the contents of the trunk
Recent Examples on the Web Pence’s assessment of the events of that day conform to the fabric of reality. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 13 Mar. 2023 The decommissioning of these runways will help the airport better conform with FAA standards, reduce long-term maintenance costs, and improve airfield circulation. Beck Andrew Salgado, Journal Sentinel, 6 Mar. 2023 So while Federal law now allows 529 plan to IRA rollovers, your state may not conform with these rules right away (or ever). Robert Farrington, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2023 Not knowing a foreign culture, yet having to conform to it. Arlyssa D. Becenti, The Arizona Republic, 28 Jan. 2023 If months had minds of their own, Friday in Washington might have persuaded us that January was finally trying to fit in, to conform, to seem at last almost average. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2023 Now, with four, all the tattoo shops conform to city ordinance. Steve Lord, Chicago Tribune, 25 Jan. 2023 Data centers and cryptocurrency miners would have to conform to Oregon’s new clean energy goals under a bill before the Legislature, which would levy hefty penalties and withhold tax breaks for companies that fail to comply. oregonlive, 10 Jan. 2023 In some ways, the two political parties conform to perception. Peter Smith, ajc, 4 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French conformer, from Latin conformare, from com- + formare to form, from forma form

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of conform was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near conform

Cite this Entry

“Conform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​form kən-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce conform (audio)
: to bring into harmony
conform my behavior to the circumstances
: to be similar or identical
the data conforms to the pattern
: to act in obedience or agreement
especially : to adapt oneself to accepted standards or customs
conformer noun
conformist noun

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
con·​form kən-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce conform (audio)
: to be in accordance : correspond in character
specifically : to be in accordance with the provisions of a contract
conformance noun
conformity noun

More from Merriam-Webster on conform

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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