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

  • adj. Done as a formality; perfunctory.
  • adj. Provided in advance so as to prescribe form or describe items: a pro forma copy of a document.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. For the sake of form only.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • As a matter of form.

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

  • adv. in a set manner without serious attention
  • adj. as a formality only


New Latin prō fōrmā : prō, for the sake of + fōrmā, ablative of fōrma, form.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin, see Latin etymology. (Wiktionary)


  • After the election, Lake only had a pro forma conversation with Clinton about the job; he was basically expected to continue the pattern of the campaignkeeping Clinton informed but otherwise taking care of the problems that were out there.

    In the Shadow of the Oval Office

  • It means a man hired for the purpose who marries pro forma and after wedding, and bedding with actual-consummation, at once divorces the woman.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • But while the Joint Chiefs of Staff JCS gave the plan pro forma approval after the president asked them to review it, neither Kennedy nor Bundy demanded a thorough, serious analysis of whether it was militarily feasible, and whether it was likely to trigger the sort of strong anti-Castro action within Cuba upon which its success would ultimately depend.

    In the Shadow of the Oval Office


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