see also: FORM
  • (RP) IPA: /fɔːm/
  • (America) IPA: /fɔɹm/


  1. (heading, physical) To do with shape.
    1. The shape or visible structure of a thing or person.
      • 1699, Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet, Heads designed for an essay on conversations ↗
        Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
    2. A thing that gives shape to other things as in a mold.
    3. Regularity, beauty or elegance.
    4. (philosophy) The inherent nature of an object; that which the mind itself contributes as the condition of knowing; that in which the essence of a thing consists.
    5. Characteristics not involving atomic components.
    6. (dated) A long bench with no back.
      • 1981, Gerald Basil Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, page 10:
        I can see the old schoolroom yet: the broken-down desks and the worn-out forms with knots in that got stuck into your backside […].
      • 2010, Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography:
        The prefect grabbed me by the shoulders and steered me down a passageway, and down another and finally through a door that led into a long, low dining-room crowded with loudly breakfasting boys sitting on long, shiny oak forms, as benches used to be called.
    7. (fine arts) The boundary line of a material object. In painting, more generally, the human body.
    8. (crystallography) The combination of planes included under a general crystallographic symbol. It is not necessarily a closed solid.
  2. (social) To do with structure or procedure.
    1. An order of doing things, as in religious ritual.
    2. Established method of expression or practice; fixed way of proceeding; conventional or stated scheme; formula.
      • Those whom form of laws / Condemned to die.
    3. Constitution; mode of construction, organization, etc.; system.
      a republican form of government
    4. Show without substance; empty, outside appearance; vain, trivial, or conventional ceremony; conventionality; formality.
      a matter of mere form
      • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene vii]:
        Though well we may not pass upon his life / Without the form of justice.
    5. (archaic) A class or rank in society.
      • ladies of a high form
    6. (UK) A criminal record; loosely, past history (in a given area).
      • 2011, Jane Martinson, The Guardian, 4 May:
        It's fair to say she has form on this: she has criticised David Cameron's proposal to create all-women shortlists for prospective MPs, tried to ban women wearing high heels at work as the resulting pain made them take time off work, and tried to reduce the point at which an abortion can take place from 24 to 21 weeks.
    7. (UK, education) A class or year of school pupils (often preceded by an ordinal number to specify the year, as in sixth form).
      • 1928, George Bickerstaff, The mayor, and other folk
        One other day after afternoon school, Mr. Percival came behind me and put his hand on me. "Let me see, what's your name? Which form are you in? […]"
      • 1976, Ronald King, School and college: studies of post-sixteen education
        From the sixth form will come the scholars and the administrators.
  3. A blank document or template to be filled in by the user.
    To apply for the position, complete the application form.
  4. A specimen document to be copied or imitated.
  5. Level of performance.
    The team's form has been poor this year.
    The orchestra was on top form this evening.
  6. (grammar) A grouping of words which maintain grammatical context in different usages; the particular shape or structure of a word or part of speech.
    participial forms;  verb forms
  7. The den or home of a hare.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 29, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Being one day a hunting, I found a Hare sitting in her forme […].
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      , I.iii.1.2:
      The Egyptians therefore in their hieroglyphics expressed a melancholy man by a hare sitting in her form, as being a most timorous and solitary creature.
    • 1974, Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur (novel), Faber & Faber 1992, p.275:
      Hares left their snug ‘forms’ in the cold grass.
  8. (computing, programming) A window or dialogue box.
    • 1998, Gary Cornell, Visual Basic 6 from the ground up (p.426)
      While it is quite amazing how much one can do with Visual Basic with the code attached to a single form, to take full advantage of VB you'll need to start using multiple forms and having the code on all the forms in your project interact.
    • , Neil Smyth, C# Essentials
      Throughout this chapter we will work with a form in a new project.
  9. (taxonomy) An infraspecific rank.
  10. (printing, dated) The type or other matter from which an impression is to be taken, arranged and secured in a chase.
  11. (geometry) A quantic.
  12. (sports, fitness) A specific way of performing a movement.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Verb

form (forms, present participle forming; past and past participle formed)

  1. (transitive) To assume (a certain shape or visible structure).
    When you kids form a straight line I'll hand out the lollies.
  2. (transitive) To give (a shape or visible structure) to a thing or person.
    Roll out the dough to form a thin sheet.
  3. (intransitive) To take shape.
    When icicles start to form on the eaves you know the roads will be icy.
  4. To put together or bring into being; assemble.
    The socialists did not have enough MPs to form a government.
    Paul McCartney and John Lennon formed The Beatles in Liverpool in 1960.
  5. (transitive, linguistics) To create (a word) by inflection or derivation.
    By adding "-ness", you can form a noun from an adjective.
  6. (transitive) To constitute, to compose, to make up.
    Teenagers form the bulk of extreme traffic offenders.
    • the diplomatic politicians […] who formed by far the majority
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ […] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window at the old mare feeding in the meadow below by the brook, and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, […].
    • 1948 May, Stanley Pashko, “The Biggest Family”, in Boys' Life, Volume 38, Number 5, Boy Scouts of America, ISSN 0006-8608, p.10 ↗:
      Insects form the biggest family group in nature's kingdom, and also the oldest.
  7. To mould or model by instruction or discipline.
    Singing in a choir helps to form a child's sociality.
    • 1731-1735, Alexander Pope, ''Moral Essays;;
      'Tis education forms the common mind.
    • Thus formed for speed, he challenges the wind.
  8. To provide (a hare) with a form.
    • The melancholy hare is formed in brakes and briers.
  9. (electrical, historical, transitive) To treat (plates) to prepare them for introduction into a storage battery, causing one plate to be composed more or less of spongy lead, and the other of lead peroxide. This was formerly done by repeated slow alternations of the charging current, but later the plates or grids were coated or filled, one with a paste of red lead and the other with litharge, introduced into the cell, and formed by a direct charging current.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations
  • French: se former
  • German: sich bilden, entstehen, Form annehmen, sich formieren, aufstellen, aufstellen, sich formen, sich entwickeln, sich gründen
  • Italian: formarsi
  • Russian: формируется
Translations Translations

form (uncountable)

  1. Acronym of family, occupation, recreation, motivation: a set of potential topics of conversation for use by salespeople etc.

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