from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The shape and structure of an object.
  • n. The body or outward appearance of a person or an animal considered separately from the face or head; figure.
  • n. The essence of something.
  • n. The mode in which a thing exists, acts, or manifests itself; kind: a form of animal life; a form of blackmail.
  • n. Procedure as determined or governed by regulation or custom.
  • n. A fixed order of words or procedures, as for use in a ceremony; a formula.
  • n. A document with blanks for the insertion of details or information: insurance forms.
  • n. Manners or conduct as governed by etiquette, decorum, or custom.
  • n. Behavior according to a fixed or accepted standard: Tardiness is considered bad form.
  • n. Performance considered with regard to acknowledged criteria: a good jump shooter having an unusual form.
  • n. Proven ability to perform: a musician at the top of her form.
  • n. Fitness, as of an athlete or animal, with regard to health or training.
  • n. The past performance of a racehorse.
  • n. A racing form.
  • n. Method of arrangement or manner of coordinating elements in literary or musical composition or in organized discourse: presented my ideas in outline form; a treatise in the form of a dialogue.
  • n. A particular type or example of such arrangement: The essay is a literary form.
  • n. The design, structure, or pattern of a work of art: symphonic form.
  • n. A mold for the setting of concrete.
  • n. A model of the human figure or part of it used for displaying clothes.
  • n. A proportioned model that may be adjusted for fitting clothes.
  • n. A grade in a British secondary school or in some American private schools: the sixth form.
  • n. A linguistic form.
  • n. The external aspect of words with regard to their inflections, pronunciation, or spelling.
  • n. Chiefly British A long seat; a bench.
  • n. The resting place of a hare.
  • n. Botany A subdivision of a variety usually differing in one trivial characteristic, such as flower color.
  • transitive v. To give form to; shape: form clay into figures.
  • transitive v. To develop in the mind; conceive: form an opinion.
  • transitive v. To shape or mold (dough, for example) into a particular form.
  • transitive v. To arrange oneself in: Holding out his arms, the cheerleader formed a T. The acrobats formed a pyramid.
  • transitive v. To organize or arrange: The environmentalists formed their own party.
  • transitive v. To fashion, train, or develop by instruction or precept: form a child's mind.
  • transitive v. To come to have; develop or acquire: form a habit.
  • transitive v. To constitute or compose a usually basic element, part, or characteristic of.
  • transitive v. To produce (a tense, for example) by inflection: form the pluperfect.
  • transitive v. To make (a word) by derivation or composition.
  • transitive v. To put in order; arrange.
  • intransitive v. To become formed or shaped.
  • intransitive v. To come into being by taking form; arise.
  • intransitive v. To assume a specified form, shape, or pattern.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The shape or visible structure of a thing or person.
  • n. A thing that gives shape to other things as in a mold.
  • n. An order of doing things, as in religious ritual.
  • n. A blank document or template to be filled in by the user.
  • n. A grouping of words which maintain grammatical context in different usages.
  • n. Characteristics not involving atomic components.
  • n. A criminal record; loosely, past history (in a given area).
  • n. A class or year of students (often preceded by an ordinal number to specify the year, as in sixth form).
  • n. The den or home of a hare.
  • n. A long bench with no back.
  • n. A window or dialogue box.
  • n. Grade (level of pre-collegiate education).
  • n. An infraspecific rank.
  • v. To give shape or visible structure to (a thing or person).
  • v. To take shape.
  • v. To create (a word) by inflection or derivation.
  • v. To constitute, to compose, to make up.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The shape and structure of anything, as distinguished from the material of which it is composed; particular disposition or arrangement of matter, giving it individuality or distinctive character; configuration; figure; external appearance.
  • n. Constitution; mode of construction, organization, etc.; system.
  • n. Established method of expression or practice; fixed way of proceeding; conventional or stated scheme; formula.
  • n. Show without substance; empty, outside appearance; vain, trivial, or conventional ceremony; conventionality; formality.
  • n. Orderly arrangement; shapeliness; also, comeliness; elegance; beauty.
  • n. A shape; an image; a phantom.
  • n. That by which shape is given or determined; mold; pattern; model.
  • n. A long seat; a bench; hence, a rank of students in a school; a class; also, a class or rank in society.
  • n. The seat or bed of a hare.
  • n. The type or other matter from which an impression is to be taken, arranged and secured in a chase.
  • n. The boundary line of a material object. In (painting), more generally, the human body.
  • n. The particular shape or structure of a word or part of speech
  • n. The combination of planes included under a general crystallographic symbol. It is not necessarily a closed solid.
  • n. That assemblage or disposition of qualities which makes a conception, or that internal constitution which makes an existing thing to be what it is; -- called essential or substantial form, and contradistinguished from matter; hence, active or formative nature; law of being or activity; subjectively viewed, an idea; objectively, a law.
  • n. Mode of acting or manifestation to the senses, or the intellect. In modern usage, the elements of a conception furnished by the mind's own activity, as contrasted with its object or condition, which is called the matter; subjectively, a mode of apprehension or belief conceived as dependent on the constitution of the mind; objectively, universal and necessary accompaniments or elements of every object known or thought of.
  • n. The peculiar characteristics of an organism as a type of others; also, the structure of the parts of an animal or plant.
  • intransitive v. To take a form, definite shape, or arrangement.
  • intransitive v. To run to a form, as a hare.
  • transitive v. To give form or shape to; to frame; to construct; to make; to fashion.
  • transitive v. To give a particular shape to; to shape, mold, or fashion into a certain state or condition; to arrange; to adjust; also, to model by instruction and discipline; to mold by influence, etc.; to train.
  • transitive v. To go to make up; to act as constituent of; to be the essential or constitutive elements of; to answer for; to make the shape of; -- said of that out of which anything is formed or constituted, in whole or in part.
  • transitive v. To provide with a form, as a hare. See Form, n., 9.
  • transitive v. To derive by grammatical rules, as by adding the proper suffixes and affixes.
  • transitive v. To treat (plates) so as to bring them to fit condition 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 now the plates or grids are 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give form to; Shape; mold, To give a figure to; make a figure of; constitute as a figure: as, to form a statue; to form a triangle.
  • In general, to model, make, or produce by any combination of parts or materials.
  • Specifically— To arrange; combine in any particular manner; as, he formed his troops into a hollow square.
  • To model by Instruction and discipline; mold; train.
  • To devise; conceive; frame; invent; create: as, to form opinions from sound premises; to form an image in the mind.
  • In grammar, to make, as a word, by derivation or by affixes.
  • To go to make up; be an element or constituent of; constitute; take the shape of: as, duplicity forms no part of his character; these facts form a safe foundation for our conclusions.
  • To display so as to communicate the real meaning.
  • To persuade; bring to do.
  • To provide with a form, as a hare.
  • Synonyms To fashion, carve, produce, dispose.
  • To constitute, compose, make up.
  • To take or come into form; assume the characteristic or implied figure, appearance, or arrangement: as, the troops formed in columns; ice forms at a temperature of 32°F.
  • To run for a form, as a hare; squat in a form.
  • A termination in words of Latin origin, or in words formed like them, meaning ‘-like, -shaped, in the form of’: as, ensiform, sword-like, sword-shaped; falciform, sickle-shaped; vermiform, worm-like; oviform, in the form of an egg.
  • In electricity, to change (the surface of the plates of a secondary or storage-cell) by repeated charge and discharge, so that they are in condition for use.
  • In electricity, to convert the active material of the positive plate of a storage-cell into lead monoxid or that of the negative plate into spongy lead, either by the action of the charging current or by direct chemical means.
  • n. The external shape or configuration of a body; the figure, as defined by lines and surfaces; external appearance considered independently of color or material; in an absolute use, the human figure: as, it was in the form of a circle; a triangular form; the form of the head or of the body; a beautiful or an ugly form.
  • n. Specifically, in crystallography, the complex of planes included under the same general symbol.
  • n. Attractive appearance; shapeliness; beauty.
  • n. A costume; a special dress: as, a blue silk form.
  • n. A mold, pattern, or model; something to give shape, or on or after which things are fashioned: as, a hatters' or a milliners' form; a form for jelly.
  • n. In printing, an assemblage of types secured in a chase for stereotyping, or of either types or plates for printing.
  • n. In milit. engine., same as gabion-form. See gabion.
  • n. In general, arrangement of or relationship between the parts of anything, as distinguished from the parts themselves: opposed to matter, but not properly to substance (unless it be the intention of the writer to identify substance with matter).
  • n. A specific formation or arrangement; characteristic structure, constitution, or appearance; disposition of parts or conditions.
  • n. Mode or manner of being, action, or manifestation; specific state, condition, determination, variation, or kind: as, water in the form of steam or of ice; electricity is a form of energy; English is a form of German speech; varioloid is a mild form of smallpox; life in all its forms.
  • n. Fixed order or method; systematic or orderly arrangement or proceeding, as to either generals or particulars; system or formula: as, the forms of civilized society; a form of words or of prayer; a rough draft to be reduced to form; a document in due form.
  • n. Specifically, mere manner as opposed to intrinsic qualities; style.
  • n. Formality, or a formality: ceremony.
  • n. Conformity to the conventionalities and usages of society; propriety: chiefly in the phrases good form, bad form.
  • n. Mere appearance; semblance.
  • n. High condition or fitness for any undertaking, as a competition, especially a physical competition; powers of competing.
  • n. In algebra, a quantic in which the variables are considered abstractly with reference only to their mathematical relations in the quantic, and apart from any signification.
  • n. In grammar, a word bearing the sign of a distinct grammatical character, or denoted by its structure as having a particular office.
  • n. In music: The general theory or science of so arranging themes, tonalities, phrases, and sections in a piece that order, symmetry, and correlation of parts may be secured: one of the most important branches of the art of composition.
  • n. The particular rhythmical, melodic, or harmonic disposition or arrangement of tones in a phrase, section, or movement, especially when distinct and regular enough to be known by a special name, as the sonata-form, the rondo-form, etc.
  • n. A blank or schedule to be filled out by the insertion of details; a sample or specimen document calculated to serve as a guide in framing others in like cases: as, a form for a deed, lease, or contract.
  • n. A long seat; a bench.
  • n. A number of pupils sitting together on a bench at school.
  • n. A class or rank of students in a school (especially in England).
  • n. Hence— A class or rank in society.
  • n. The seat or bed of a hare.
  • n. The hares (Lepus Americanus) were very familiar. One had her form under my house all winter, separated from me only by the flooring.
  • n. A particular species or kind; a species of a genus, etc.; any assemblage of similar things constituting a component of a group, especially of a zoölogical group.
  • n. In printing, a form of types in which a page or several pages have been left blank.
  • n.
  • n. A flower-bud of the cotton-plant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make something, usually for a specific function
  • v. assume a form or shape
  • n. a printed document with spaces in which to write
  • n. the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something
  • n. alternative names for the body of a human being
  • n. the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
  • n. an ability to perform well
  • n. a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality
  • n. an arrangement of the elements in a composition or discourse
  • n. (physical chemistry) a distinct state of matter in a system; matter that is identical in chemical composition and physical state and separated from other material by the phase boundary
  • n. a perceptual structure
  • v. to compose or represent:
  • n. a body of students who are taught together
  • v. create (as an entity)
  • n. a mold for setting concrete
  • n. a particular mode in which something is manifested
  • v. establish or impress firmly in the mind
  • n. a life-size dummy used to display clothes
  • v. give shape or form to
  • n. any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
  • n. (biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups
  • n. the visual appearance of something or someone
  • v. develop into a distinctive entity


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English forme, from Latin fōrma.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English forme ("shape, figure, manner, bench, frame, seat, condition, agreement, etc."), from Old French forme, from Latin forma ("shape, figure, image, outline, plan, mold, frame, case, etc., manner, sort, kind, etc.")


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  • XKCD.

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