Definition of conformation in English:



  • 1The shape or structure of something, especially an animal.

    ‘the judges run their hands over the dog's body and legs, checking its conformation’
    mass noun ‘we've been looking for stock with good overall conformation’
    • ‘Following this event it takes some time for the channel conformation to relax back to the original structure or conformation.’
    • ‘The best approach for correcting a gait fault is to examine the animal's conformation and foot-flight pattern.’
    • ‘The judges then walked down the row checking the conformation of the horses and getting a closer look at each one.’
    • ‘The animal's conformation can be a factor in how well your pack load or horse saddlebags ride.’
    • ‘This is because we want to start with the x-ray structure conformation.’
    • ‘At an all-breed dog show, the focus lies in the dog's conformation, or overall appearance and structure.’
    • ‘It also improves the carcase conformation and composition, while he also finds the lambs are much cleaner due to the lower worm burden.’
    construction, form, formation, shape, composition, fabric, anatomy, make-up, constitution
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Chemistry Any of the spatial arrangements which the atoms in a molecule may adopt and freely convert between, especially by rotation about individual single bonds.
      ‘a change of DNA conformation induced by binding of RNA polymerase’
      Compare with configuration
      • ‘Amino acid side chains are known to adopt discrete conformations depending on the local protein environment.’
      • ‘We then estimate the free energies of all dimer conformations in all-atom molecular mechanics simulations with explicit water.’
      • ‘The conformation of the DNA molecule in solution is fluctuating constantly due to thermal perturbations.’
      • ‘Then, we fix the adsorbed DNA molecules in their conformations thanks to uranyl acetate and we dry the sample using filter paper.’
      • ‘Molecular mechanics and dynamics use an empirical energy function known as a force field to model the conformation of a molecule.’


Early 16th century (in the sense ‘conforming, adaptation’): from Latin conformatio(n-), from conformare ‘to shape, fashion’ (see conform).