Definition of form in US English:



  • 1The visible shape or configuration of something.

    ‘the form, color, and texture of the tree’
    • ‘Her home office blends contemporary and geometric shapes with organic forms.’
    • ‘One of the nicest seasons of the year is autumn and it reflects itself in many shapes, colours and forms.’
    • ‘In 1915 - 16 she did a series of abstract drawings and watercolours that evoked the natural world in simple forms and vivid colours.’
    • ‘A person's life in one sense is like a work of art, blending colors, tones, lines, and forms.’
    • ‘The earliest item is a Viking bronze sword pommel from the late tenth century incised with diamond shapes and simplified animal forms.’
    • ‘The shape and form of the bungalow constantly underwent change and adaptation out of functional necessity.’
    • ‘It is the rare gardener who is not smitten by their array of brilliant colors and graceful forms.’
    • ‘His latest work concentrates on geometric forms, especially from Venetian floor designs.’
    • ‘Cement has been slapped on and ugly box-shaped structures built abutting the graceful forms of the ancient temples.’
    • ‘This urban contemporary collection keeps things in perspective with simple forms, clean lines and subtle shapes.’
    • ‘Observing the variety of colour, form and aroma of summer flowers can enhance outdoor relaxation.’
    • ‘The artist has spent her career exploring abstract shapes and forms, creating paintings that reveal many different kinds of visual sensations.’
    • ‘The exploration of the deployment of pure geometric forms is an ongoing theme in Don Watson's work.’
    • ‘Crop circles don't just look pretty they express fundamental geometric forms.’
    • ‘The powerful roots of the oak demonstrate an earthly reflection of the power of lightning, mirroring its shape and form.’
    • ‘A garden that is neglected does not so much cease to bear fruit, as it loses its shape and form.’
    • ‘Both the milk teeth and the permanent teeth give the face its shape and form.’
    • ‘The building is organised as a series of layers, allowing it to be read as several slender parallel forms.’
    • ‘Pot-grown orchids provide a stunning indoor display, with a great variety of colour and form.’
    • ‘They come in a wonderful variety of shapes, forms and colours.’
    shape, configuration, formation, conformation, structure, construction, arrangement, disposition, appearance, outward appearance, outward form, exterior
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    1. 1.1 Arrangement of parts; shape.
      ‘the entities underlying physical form’
      • ‘Stories appeal to people because they impose some sort of form and structure on a world that has none.’
      • ‘Standing at the end of the pond, the carefully manicured view gives the semblance of natural form and perfect scale.’
      • ‘He calculated the ideas and gathered them together, he gave my ideas some sort of structure and form.’
      • ‘Undoubtedly the subject will now be well lit, but you have also removed shape and form from the photograph.’
      • ‘We must look at their effects on the structure and form of the city and how it is designed.’
      • ‘During the week my days had lost all form, structure and familiarity.’
    2. 1.2 The body or shape of a person or animal.
      ‘his eyes scanned her slender form’
      • ‘I walked up the stairs and glanced back at his darkened form in the garden.’
      • ‘She wore a skirt of powder blue with an ivory chiffon blouse that heightened her delicate physique and slender form.’
      • ‘He held her so that she could not move, his strong arms encircled about her slender form.’
      • ‘His patched clothes hung loosely about his bony form.’
      • ‘He stepped to the side so that his form blocked the door.’
      • ‘Before him Erik saw a mass of huddled forms in the corner of the room.’
      • ‘He lifted her small, lifeless form into his arms.’
      • ‘She was dressed in a long, silver dress that clung to her form.’
      • ‘Her slender form was a crumpled heap in his arms, with bruises and blood marring her creamy white skin.’
      • ‘Soon enough the attackers emerged, their blurred forms now visible under the crimson light.’
      • ‘He was a lifelong bachelor and was believed to have remained celibate - but did he enjoy painting the naked female form?’
      • ‘I tucked Claire in, sitting beside her sleeping form and stroking back her light hair from her beautiful face.’
      • ‘Several other shapeless gray forms emerged from the tents inside the camp.’
      • ‘Suddenly, they noticed the form of an animal ahead, leaning down to drink.’
      • ‘What she didn't know was the fading sunlight framed her perfect form and gave her hair a fiery glow.’
      • ‘The light drew closer and human forms were soon visible, running towards the crowd.’
      • ‘She stared after him until his retreating form was no longer discernible through the trees.’
      • ‘Pulling her silk robe more tightly around her naked form, Olivia pads over to her night table to pick up a bottle of body lotion.’
      • ‘Just the other night, I must have passed by the sleeping forms of at least 20 people on Park Avenue.’
      • ‘Stepping into the doorway separating the two rooms, he studied her slim form huddled on the couch.’
      body, shape, figure, silhouette, proportions, stature, build, frame, physique, anatomy
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    3. 1.3 Arrangement and style in literary or musical composition.
      ‘these videos are a triumph of form over content’
      • ‘We feature a crop of interesting product designs marrying form and function in experimental ways.’
      • ‘Haven't ballet purists reacted negatively to the combination of classical form and popular content?’
      • ‘As a pair they present a complex tale of memory and forgetting in terms of both form and content.’
      • ‘His smart-alec games with form and style are very witty, youthful and enormously engaging.’
      • ‘In the argument of content over form or vice-versa, here content dictates form.’
      • ‘The problem is one of both form and content, of poetic method and political consciousness.’
      • ‘The book reflects the structure of the conference in both form and content in an attempt to capture the dynamism of the event.’
      • ‘Still, the film is undeniably distinctive, although this is due to style as much as form.’
      • ‘Branagh's film thus presents us once again with a provocative conflict between form and content.’
      • ‘Lacking both form and content, Soul Survivors can hardly be called a movie at all.’
      • ‘Another question ran as follows: Choose a poem in which the poet has created a perfect blend of form and content.’
      • ‘On the downside, a small minority of articles favour form over content to an excessive degree.’
      • ‘It is hard to separate form from content, so there's no use asking authors to clean up their act.’
      • ‘Indeed, this tone is reinforced throughout the book by both its content and its form.’
      • ‘That was the thing that interested me about it; it's that marriage between form and content.’
      • ‘The subject is too self-conscious, the Italian still more concerned with form than feeling.’
      • ‘It is this contrast between form and content that gives the show its constant elan.’
      • ‘Also the length of the film dictates the form, it is a fine balance between form and content.’
      • ‘This uncomfortable contradiction between form and content lies at the heart of both their work.’
      • ‘In fact, he's made it worse by a jarring disjunction between form and content.’
      structure, arrangement, construction, framework, format, layout, design, organization, system, planning, order, orderliness, symmetry, proportion
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  • 2A particular way in which a thing exists or appears; a manifestation.

    ‘her obsession has taken the form of compulsive exercise’
    • ‘Draft policies then appeared in the form of reports brought before Council for formal approval.’
    • ‘Ginger is easily obtained and comes in a variety of forms: powder, capsules, oil and tea.’
    • ‘The bill will have serious implications for journalists and photographers in its current form.’
    • ‘The appropriate drug in whatever form should be legal and available on prescription.’
    • ‘If I understand the literature about Anthrax, it has to be in a powdered form in order to be distributed over a wide area or via aerosol.’
    • ‘It is slander if it takes the form of spoken words, gestures or mimicry.’
    • ‘The licence is in draft form and will be issued to your clients shortly.’
    • ‘It even published a collection of the best corrections in book form.’
    • ‘In fact, far from more bank holidays, what we need is fewer - at least in the traditional fixed form.’
    • ‘At the time of the Revolution, many of the languages of the national minorities lacked written forms.’
    • ‘Taking about 8mg of each nutrient every day in supplement form may also help tanning.’
    • ‘The Church was not a separate entity, but one that gave legal form and substance to the society of the time.’
    • ‘Virtually all the important research continues to appear in the form of papers in journals.’
    • ‘The survey will be in the form of a questionnaire, asking about people's experience of the NHS in their area.’
    • ‘In time it may be advantageous to hold data in processed form, but at present raw data remains too valuable.’
    • ‘It will be easier at this time to put abstract ideas into concrete form.’
    • ‘It will now address as a matter of urgency the form that this independent body should take.’
    • ‘The talk will take the form of an information session on how the local authority works.’
    • ‘That pledge has since been backed by publicans in other counties who have vowed to resist the ban in its current form.’
    • ‘Some of the following supplements may come in convenient powder forms - use those when possible.’
    manifestation, appearance, embodiment, incarnation, semblance, shape, guise, character, description, expression
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    1. 2.1 Any of the ways in which a word may be spelled, pronounced, or inflected.
      ‘an adjectival rather than adverbial form’
      • ‘As a flood of French verbs entered the language, they acquired noun forms by zero derivation, too.’
      • ‘In other instances, there are related prepositional and adverbial forms.’
      • ‘Granted, there is a possibility that the clitic forms had not yet evolved 200 years ago.’
      • ‘To arrive at the original meaning of a surname, one has to consider the earliest recorded forms and invoke the expertise of a philologist.’
      • ‘The correct Irish form of the name Ballyhaunis was then, and still is open to question.’
      • ‘All these verb forms are, in fact, largely neutral with respect to time and may be used in sentences with differing time implications.’
      • ‘These different shapes spell out word forms that belong to the verb lexeme crown.’
      • ‘Using polite forms and neutral pronouns with peers is considered effeminate.’
      • ‘The female form of the word was wicce, from which we get our witch, though at one time men could be witches, too.’
      • ‘She did this by presenting the children with nonsense words and setting up situations which would elicit derived forms of the words.’
      • ‘In practice, dictionaries take a middle course between wholehearted descriptivism and prescriptive edicts. They advise when a form is controversial, or a word is going out of use, or is shifting its sense.’
      • ‘Either way, it is strange, and so is modified into something that sounds like a current English form.’
      • ‘Some examples of words ending in -ful that have no forms in -less are awful, bashful and deceitful.’
      • ‘This formality is in part caused by the Czech language, which has two forms of the second-person personal pronoun.’
      • ‘To get facility with Italian as a third language, you would need only to grasp minor changes in word forms and syntax.’
      • ‘Every noun has nine forms, you see, indicating its relationship to other words in the sentence.’
      • ‘Christian names can be indicative of class and the form of the name used can be indicative of politics.’
      • ‘The point is that word parts are bonding into forms according to the grammatical rules of English word formation.’
      • ‘English does not require the use of gender-differentiated forms of the definite article and other similar words.’
      • ‘For example, instant messaging often relies on acronyms and shortened forms of words.’
    2. 2.2 The structure of a word, phrase, sentence, or discourse.
      ‘every distinction in meaning is associated with a distinction in form’
      • ‘The meaning of individual words is linked to the overall grammatical form of the sentence.’
      • ‘Sentences of this form are called conditionals, and will concern us a good deal in the next chapter.’
      • ‘One also needs to pay attention to the syntactic form of the sentences.’
    3. 2.3Philosophy The essential nature of a species or thing, especially (in Plato's thought) regarded as an abstract ideal which real things imitate or participate in.
      • ‘Epicurus rejected the existence of Platonic forms and an immaterial soul, and he said that the gods have no influence on our lives.’
      • ‘The most adequately objective knowledge we could have would be of the nature of these abiding forms fixed in the nature of things.’
      • ‘Whitehead sees them as ingredients in an experience and rather similar to Plato's ideal forms.’
      • ‘Species are not regarded as permanent abstract forms, but as the result of chance combinations of atoms.’
      • ‘Art as vision locates the subject of art in the artist, not in an external world of real or ideal forms.’
  • 3A type or variety of something.

    ‘sponsorship is a form of advertising’
    • ‘Their mandate is the defence of women's rights in Quebec, with a focus on the prevention of violence and all forms of discrimination.’
    • ‘The geological period known as the Cambrian is marked by the rather sudden appearance of all the basic forms of animals now in existence.’
    • ‘You almost have to use traditional forms of advertising, like TV and radio, which can get very expensive.’
    • ‘When winter came, grass, then as now the cheapest form of animal feed, did not grow.’
    • ‘The two peoples spoke a different language and practiced different forms of religious worship.’
    • ‘Early forms of male pattern balding do well with treatment.’
    • ‘Three in 10 employees will experience some form of mental health problem in any one year.’
    • ‘Even if rental income has dropped, housing proprietors are sitting on an asset that outperforms all other conventional forms of investment by up to five times.’
    • ‘The army has a zero tolerance policy towards any form of bullying or harassment.’
    • ‘The two most effective forms of mass direct action are riots and strikes.’
    • ‘If a pure form of proportional representation had been used in 2001 we would have had a hung parliament.’
    • ‘Faculty evaluation of students takes two basic forms: course grades and letters of recommendation.’
    • ‘I had a passport a good year before I did any travelling simply because it's a convenient form of ID.’
    • ‘Melanoma is a more serious form of skin cancer.’
    • ‘We should not tolerate any form of discrimination or racism in our country.’
    • ‘Preventing HPV is difficult, since no form of barrier contraception is completely protective.’
    • ‘It is committed to peaceful campaigns against all forms of animal abuse and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle.’
    • ‘"They say that imitation is a form of flattery, " Shane said.’
    • ‘The Commonwealth suspends or expels nations which have military coups and non-democratic forms of government.’
    • ‘Correcting any form of social misbehaviour is not something that can be done quickly.’
    kind, sort, type, order, class, classification, category, variety, genre, brand, style
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    1. 3.1 An artistic or literary genre.
      • ‘Prolific and hard-working, de Pisan wrote in most of the contemporary forms and genres.’
      • ‘Modern Karakalpak writers have adopted Western literary forms such as novels, short stories, and plays.’
      • ‘Before the First World War, the short story was detective fiction's predominant literary form.’
      • ‘She didn't want to write another novel immediately, so the short story is the perfect form.’
      • ‘The other stories too reflect the vibrancy and dynamism of the short story as a form that constantly offers something new in craft, technique and theme.’
      • ‘Weaving is a highly developed traditional art form.’
      • ‘Not only was the language being re-shaped, but so were the generic forms of English literature.’
      • ‘What has changed is an interest in choosing works to represent a range of cultural experiences as well as a range of literary forms.’
      • ‘It also requires that production draws on the full range of available forms and genres.’
      • ‘Composed at speed and in anger, the poem uses the popular ballad form with immense power and sometimes surreal effect.’
      • ‘Valuation is integral to novel theory's understanding of literary forms.’
      • ‘Orwell adapts the literary forms of the allegory and beast fable for his own purposes.’
      • ‘Pamuk experiments endlessly with the form of the novel.’
      • ‘Not just drama, the story also inspires poetry, memoirs, reportage and other literary forms.’
      • ‘Like so many of Jordan's films, it is both a reflection on the genre form and an allegory of contemporary global politics.’
      • ‘In the early eighteenth century, Ludvig Holberg wrote in a variety of forms, including satire and comedy.’
      • ‘the middle of the 18th century there had been a revival of medieval and traditional literary forms - such as the ballad and the folk tale.’
      • ‘Both have consistently focused on a variety of music forms, from purely electronic to experimental jazz to experimental full stop.’
      • ‘Such urgency, that insistence, might color everything in poetry, this most personal of all literary forms.’
      • ‘Film-making is best learned on the job, like many other artistic or literary forms.’
      • ‘The satirist may use different forms of literature in prose or verse.’
    2. 3.2Botany A taxonomic category that ranks below variety, which contains organisms differing from the typical kind in some trivial, frequently impermanent, character, e.g. a color variant.
      Compare with subspecies and variety
      • ‘Seventeen species/botanical forms representing all the Old World lupins and one New World species were used in the experiment.’
      • ‘Indeed, like most flowering plants, both forms were hermaphrodites.’
      • ‘The islands are very rich floristically, with a high proportion of shrubs and other woody forms.’
      • ‘In the field these two forms looked like distinct taxa, and we wondered if earlier botanists were not correct in recognizing this material as either varietally or specifically distinct.’
      • ‘A southern taxonomic form is distributed in North America in Pacific drainages from northern Washington north to the Alaska Peninsula.’
  • 4The customary or correct method or procedure; what is usually done.

    ‘an excessive concern for legal form and precedent’
    • ‘For form's sake, she apologised and said she'd replace it.’
    • ‘Beneath these arguments about legal form lie the wider issues of self-determination.’
    • ‘There was some grudging applause at the final curtain, but I got the feeling it was more for the sake of form, rather than actual enjoyment.’
    • ‘This is not correct form in polite company, but then, I generally avoid polite company.’
    • ‘Not only had he paid for his parking but had displayed the receipt sticker as instructed. He was even more shocked because he had visited the Cove often before and knew the form.’
    etiquette, social practice, custom, usage, use, habit, wont, protocol, procedure, rules, convention, tradition, fashion, style, routine, ritual, pattern, regimen, policy, method, system, way, rule, formula, set formula
    good manners, manners, polite behaviour, correct behaviour, acceptable conduct, convention, etiquette, protocol
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    1. 4.1 A formality or item of mere ceremony.
      ‘the outward forms of religion’
      • ‘Similarly, the most complex ritual forms can be rendered impotent and meaningless if a sufficient level of emotional investment isn't there.’
      • ‘It is true that this general election does still adhere to some of the old forms and conventions of British democracy.’
      • ‘Unbelievers who undergo conversion are almost always attracted to religion's more traditional forms.’
      • ‘The Act of Supremacy (1559) established the Church of England as the State religion. Those who rejected its outward forms and practices were fined, or worse.’
      • ‘At least in its outward forms, this religion does not look so very different from that of the pagan Britons under Roman rule.’
      • ‘Ceremonial observances, rituals, and other outward forms are its basis; and compliance with them is what it takes as essential to the religious life.’
      • ‘Divine activities do not seem to be limited only to forms which have undergone ritual consecration.’
      • ‘One method through which this was achieved was by re-positioning the religious ritual forms as archaic survivals of a Hindu past.’
      official procedure, rule, regulation, convention, ritual, custom, matter of form, formal gesture
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    2. 4.2 A set order of words; a formula.
      • ‘Although no particular form of words is necessary the waiver must be express.’
      • ‘Provided this is done in clear terms the judge need not use any particular form of words.’
      • ‘It is contended, rightly, that no particular form of words is required so long as the intention is clear.’
      • ‘I suspect this form of expression is a local custom for elderly people to ward off the envy of jealous gods.’
      • ‘The Rev Chris Swift, a parent himself, agonised over a form of words for a situation he hadn't faced before.’
  • 5A mold, frame, or block in or on which something is shaped.

    • ‘You fill the forms with stone and concrete, then ‘slip’ the forms up for the next level.’
    1. 5.1 A temporary structure for holding fresh concrete in shape while it sets.
      • ‘Passive form oils usually do not leave a dusty layer on the form or the concrete.’
      • ‘After the spread footing pour has set, a concrete pier form is placed on top of the footing.’
  • 6A printed document with blank spaces for information to be inserted.

    ‘an application form’
    • ‘It transpires that the only reason our buyers didn't hand deliver the contracts over the weekend was because one of their names was spelled incorrectly on the forms.’
    • ‘As already stated the details on each form will be treated in the strictest confidence.’
    • ‘Simply complete the entry form available in the library.’
    • ‘At the desk Cassie and Sally filled out various forms.’
    • ‘Every incident requiring action from a supervisor must be documented in writing on the correct form.’
    • ‘It may well be that some taxpayers are being discouraged from filling in forms simply because these forms verge on the incomprehensible.’
    • ‘All completed enrolment forms must be returned to the school by Friday, February 14.’
    • ‘The leaflet and claim form will also be available on the agency's website.’
    • ‘You will have to fill out an application form and there will be questions about your medical history and your lifestyle.’
    • ‘It's becoming a card that strikes more fear into chefs' hearts than a self-assessment tax form.’
    • ‘If only he had read the fine print on the medical release form at the hospital.’
    • ‘Ofsted is also promising to take self-assessment forms completed by head teachers into account more than at present.’
    • ‘You can print off application forms through the official website.’
    • ‘As soon as the EU Commission approves the scheme the necessary application forms will be made available to farmers.’
    • ‘Employees can nominate their colleagues in any category and nomination forms can be obtained from the local human resource offices.’
    • ‘To enter the competition, fill out the application form on this page.’
    • ‘Under the changes there is now a new procedure and application form.’
    • ‘I'm just filling in an Occupational Health form for work, which requires details of one's GP.’
    • ‘It will just mean one more legal form that has to be signed before a recording can happen.’
    • ‘I get my accountant to fill out my self-assessment tax form, as it is pretty time-consuming to do it myself.’
    questionnaire, document, coupon, tear-off slip, sheet of paper, paper
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  • 7British A class or year in a school, usually given a specifying number.

    ‘the fifth form’
    • ‘I am a supply teacher and I have been for the past nine years teaching in primary schools, high schools, sixth forms and colleges.’
    • ‘Jayden was two years older than Hailey and Alexa, he'd dropped out of school in his fifth form year to join a band.’
    • ‘It plans to do this by reducing four of its year groups from three forms per year to two forms by merging the classes.’
    • ‘Laura came home very distressed because she thought her form teacher would tell her off for being late.’
    • ‘I was friends with some girls in my form but I also had other friends from different classes.’
    • ‘I took her straight back to see her form tutor and they promised to do something about it.’
    • ‘I got to school and traipsed up the stairs to my form room.’
    • ‘I suspect that she dropped science in the fourth form, like me.’
    class, year, school group, tutor group, set, stream, band
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  • 8The state of an athlete or sports team with regard to their current standard of performance.

    ‘illness has affected his form’
    ‘they've been in good form this season’
    • ‘Fingers are crossed that both can keep up their brilliant form from the recent national games.’
    • ‘Smith's own form with the bat is another major concern for South Africa.’
    • ‘Jebb was 24 seconds behind Bailey who on current form is favourite to win the title.’
    • ‘On current domestic form, Liverpool might not see another Champions League night like this for a very long time to come.’
    • ‘On current form, he may be the best striker in the first division, but he doesn't expect to start.’
    • ‘This was a crucial game for Ilkley not least because of the need to show some form as the team prepares for an arduous final few weeks of the season.’
    • ‘Aberdeen are one of the Scottish Premier League's form teams and have yet to concede a goal in five games.’
    • ‘On current form, he certainly stands a better chance than his team-mate.’
    • ‘He said many players had discovered their form and this was having a positive influence on the team.’
    • ‘Their first league victory of the season will surely not be far away with David Bentley in his current form.’
    • ‘The England cricket team's improved form will, I hope, reignite interest in the game in our inner cities.’
    • ‘The United manager hopes that a victory against Boavista would also ignite his team's Premiership form.’
    • ‘The second day was tense as they struggled to find the previous days' form.’
    • ‘If he maintains his current level of form then he will be challenging for the Jockeys Title.’
    • ‘Following a bad start, the Greens have become one of national league two's form teams over the last two months.’
    • ‘He has shown consistent form with both bat and ball so far this season but still needs a big score under his belt.’
    • ‘Part of the reason why he doesn't reproduce his club form for England is that his form improves as the team he plays in gets better.’
    • ‘Italo Stars have hit a rich vein of form and will be bubbling with confidence for Saturday's home clash.’
    • ‘I am lucky enough to be part of a team whose form has been magnificent, with mesmerising displays.’
    • ‘Based on the two teams' current form, today's encounter looks set to be close fought and could go either way.’
    fitness, physical fitness, condition, fettle, shape, trim, health, state of health
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    1. 8.1 Details of previous performances by a racehorse or greyhound.
      ‘an interested bystander studying the form’
      • ‘Some tipsters do have good long-term records, largely because they study form every day, but they are few and far between.’
      • ‘Rogers enjoyed a stunning success when Moon Unit took the Group 3 Greenlands Stakes, despite starting as the rank outsider at 20/1 - a surprising price to anyone who bothered to take a close look at the animal's form.’
      • ‘With, of course, no previous form to go on, the weight of money tends to offer significant clues to the outcome.’
      • ‘Forget studying form, this mother-of-two's method is to choose names that mean something to her.’
      • ‘The three-year-old showed consistent form last season and ended his first campaign with a brace of victories.’
      • ‘I know as much about their chances as anyone who has seen them run and studied the form. There is not much between them.’
      • ‘As ladies in elaborate hats paraded and gentlemen in top hat and tails studied form, the royals rode in the traditional Ascot carriage procession.’
      • ‘For example, when the handicapper allots a weight to a horse for the Grand National, he will look at its previous form.’
  • 9British A long bench without a back.

    • ‘The original seats were old wooden forms which could be pushed back against the wall.’
    • ‘It was a truck with a projector in the back that they'd back up to the hall, open a flap in the wall and the projector would poke through that. We'd sit on forms watching cowboy movies, I think cowboy movies was all they showed!’
    • ‘The shelter inside was totally dark and one had to grope to find a place to sit on the backless wooden forms.’
    bench, long seat, pew, settle, stall
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  • 10US Printing

    variant spelling of forme
  • 11British A hare's lair.

    • ‘Hares lie overnight in ‘forms’, which are a kind of above-ground nest.’
    lair, den, drey, lodge, burrow, set
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[with object]
  • 1Bring together parts or combine to create (something)

    ‘the company was formed in 1982’
    • ‘The five local lads who got together and formed a band last year, are very popular with locals for 21st birthday parties etc.’
    • ‘When the European Union was formed, it had six countries, and three of them were French-speaking.’
    • ‘The meeting followed an earlier one at which a committee had been formed to draw up rules.’
    • ‘Together they have formed a unique company that has played a key role in bringing the Asian experience to the forefront of British Theatre.’
    • ‘Neighbours have already got together and formed a community association, which in all but name is a crime fighting force.’
    • ‘The group agreed it was a great idea and formed a registered non-profit society.’
    • ‘The growing need for cooperation and integration among Asian countries dictates that East Asian countries get together and move toward forming one community.’
    • ‘A strike committee has been formed and any votes cast will be by way of secret ballot.’
    • ‘Some composers, notably Stockhausen, formed their own publishing companies.’
    • ‘Seven officers have formed an Arson Reduction Team whose aim is to educate people and demonstrate the consequences of arson.’
    • ‘The club's many supporters may wish to form a Trust and proceed on that basis.’
    • ‘We hoped that, by banding together and forming a group to take united action, we could take a hand in shaping the future of our own community.’
    • ‘The PCB has also announced the dissolution of provincial cricket associations that were formed on an experimental basis in 2003.’
    • ‘No one had any real idea of how to form an inclusive and representational government.’
    • ‘In 1909, these immigrants and some Americans formed an organization named the Indo-American Association.’
    • ‘They will move to a new, central squad, which is being formed specifically to crack down on street crime.’
    • ‘In 1974, the FBI formed its Behavioral Science Unit to investigate serial rape and homicide cases.’
    • ‘A task team will be formed to ensure the plans are implemented and to draw up a budget to put before the council.’
    • ‘All of these patients heard of Dr. Philippe by word of mouth and they have formed their own informal support groups so that they can help each other.’
    • ‘Those who wanted issues resolved in a constitutional manner formed a Home Rule party in 1870.’
    set up, devise, establish, found, launch, float, create, bring into being, put in place, organize, institute, start, begin, get going, initiate, bring about, inaugurate, lay the foundations of
    arrange, draw up, line up, assemble, organize, sort, order, range, array, dispose, marshal, deploy, gather, group, place, position, rank, grade
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    1. 1.1form people/things into Organize people or things into (a group or body)
      ‘peasants and miners were formed into a militia’
      • ‘About 1,400 National Guard troops have been formed into a dozen regional response units, while smaller quick-reaction forces have been set up in each of the 50 states’
      • ‘In October 1940 a number of somewhat heterogeneous elements were formed into a battalion based at Tenby in Wales.’
      • ‘They have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to form people into teams, and they soon discover that the modern work force rejects teamwork, preferring instead to join cliques.’
      • ‘The primary objective of the remainder of this module is to explore how to form people into groups or networks.’
      • ‘If farmers want to form themselves into a group and raise equity to invest in the plant we would have to look at a proposal from them.’
    2. 1.2 Go to make up or constitute.
      ‘the precepts that form the basis of the book’
      • ‘It formed an important formative influence on the young Tagore.’
      • ‘It maintains evolution and forms the very basis of cosmic life.’
      • ‘The present compilation combines aspects of both the flamboyant virtuoso and the profound spiritualist that together formed the personality of Franz Liszt.’
      • ‘The Sligo service forms part of the airline's route to the north west.’
      • ‘The impressive group of works which forms the core of the exhibition is accompanied by others less prepossessing and of sometimes doubtful relevance.’
      • ‘The report will form part of a strategy to help advise governments on diet, physical activity and health.’
      • ‘The diary he kept during his time on smack eventually formed the basis for Trainspotting.’
      • ‘It is not my role to agree with any proposition about the ideal family relationship that forms the best environment for raising children.’
      • ‘The arts centre will form the centrepiece of the community's art and crafts industry.’
      • ‘It seems to me that these four reasons form a rather weak basis for his claim.’
      • ‘Examination of the chart shape forms a very useful part of any basic reading of the horoscope.’
      • ‘Together they form one of the most original and dramatic works of architecture of the period anywhere in Europe.’
      • ‘He published this method in 1919, and it also formed the basis of his seminal paper on the scattering of plane electric waves by spheres.’
      • ‘These rocks also occur beneath the Lagan Valley and the line of mountains forming the Antrim hills.’
      • ‘Overall, these arguments form a relatively small - but important - part of the book.’
      • ‘Reproductions of wallpapers and carpets that might have been used in the house in the early nineteenth century form the backdrop for the museum's collection.’
      • ‘The music is superb, noble and inspiring, especially the choruses which form the backbone of the work.’
      • ‘Traditional medicine still forms an essential part of rural health care for most people here.’
      • ‘The Queen has paid for 33 clematis plants which will form the central path up to the marquee at her garden party on August 8 this year.’
      • ‘The nuclear family, although forming the smallest kin unit, is always socially embedded in a wider kin unit.’
      comprise, make, make up, constitute, compose, add up to, account for, represent
      constitute, serve as, act as, function as, perform the function of, do duty for, make, embody, compose, comprise
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3no object Gradually appear or develop.
      ‘a thick mist was forming all around’
      • ‘He smiled slowly to himself, the plan forming gradually in his mind.’
      • ‘But when we started to sing, a few passers-by began turning their heads in curiosity and gradually a crowd formed and some even sang with us.’
      • ‘An idea slowly began forming in the back of my mind.’
      • ‘When the flowers begin to fade and before a seed pod forms, cut the flower head, being careful to leave the foliage to die back naturally.’
      • ‘Dip a glass into water and see if droplets form on the surface.’
      • ‘Incredible temperatures would have occurred as the sun, the nine known planets, and the thousands of other bodies that orbit the sun gradually formed.’
      • ‘You should clean these feeders every three days to ensure that mold does not form.’
      • ‘He blushed at his admission and I wondered at the shy relationship that had formed between my two friends.’
      • ‘Although the light was very dim, I began to see shapes forming in the darkness around me.’
      • ‘It is caused when blood clots form in deep veins in the legs, moving to block the blood vessels of vital organs.’
      • ‘Mix to combine and set aside for five minutes, or until small bubbles form on the surface.’
      • ‘Conservatism is about pragmatism and respect for the established order which has formed over many generations.’
      • ‘Despite this, an establishment consensus has already formed on the task at hand.’
      • ‘The tubers will form on the surface of the soil, or just below.’
      • ‘All day Sunday, a plan had been forming in my mind.’
      • ‘He ran his thumb tenderly over the bruise already forming on her face.’
      • ‘A plan formed in his mind, but he did not have much time to think it over.’
      • ‘In 1976, he calculated that once a black hole forms, it starts losing mass by radiating energy.’
      • ‘As Dani was translating the words, tears formed in her grandmother's eyes.’
      • ‘Small beads of sweat were now forming on my forehead.’
      materialize, come into being, come into existence, crystallize, emerge, spring up, develop
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Conceive (an idea or plan) in one's mind.
      • ‘While the idea was still being formed, however, something happened to him.’
      • ‘Individual councillors sought advice and formed their own judgement about whether or not they could take part.’
      • ‘I shook whatever ideas I had been forming out of my mind and pressed the small white button that I assumed was the doorbell.’
      • ‘As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.’
      • ‘More extensive studies must be performed before any concrete theory can be formed.’
      • ‘Margaret remains a person of fixed tastes and opinions which were formed very early.’
      • ‘Hence there is no sense of the possibility of individuals forming their own moral judgements about right and wrong.’
      • ‘On the basis of its own investigations the landlord formed an honestly held belief that this tenant would detrimentally affect the mall.’
      • ‘Completely different opinions may be formed if there's no channel for interaction and communication.’
      • ‘Of course, there must also be those who would disagree with my position, having formed an equally strong but opposite opinion.’
      • ‘You may find it would broaden the mind if you formed your opinions on the world by means other than the Daily Mail.’
      • ‘He was given a contract lasting 18 months, but appreciated opinions would be formed about his ability to make the transition from playing long before that.’
      • ‘Many of my opinions have been formed and informed by African American life.’
      • ‘Needless to say, she had formed a rather negative opinion based on what she had seen at the prison.’
      • ‘The probability is, however, that Gough has already formed a pretty good idea of where he will be going and that only the final details remain to be settled.’
      • ‘In 1995 he formed the idea of organising an exhibition in Greenwich to celebrate the Millennium.’
      • ‘Before the jurors leave, the judge instructs them to not discuss the case, as their opinion should not be formed before all testimony is heard.’
      • ‘And how can you trust your teenage opinion of people, when those opinions were being formed via rampaging hormones and juvenile mood swings?’
      • ‘I formed the impression that my husband was not close to his relatives, given the disparaging way he spoke about them.’
      • ‘My previous opinion had been formed after hearing a Clarence Valley bird expert talking on local ABC Radio.’
      formulate, devise, conceive, work out, think up, prepare, make ready, get ready, work up, lay, draw up, put together, produce, fashion, concoct, construct, frame, forge, hatch, develop, organize
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 Enter into or contract (a relationship)
      ‘the women would form supportive friendships’
      • ‘It seemed odd, these relationships having been formed out of seemingly nothing.’
      • ‘Most of them have formed a lasting, positive network.’
      • ‘The numbers of folks I interacted with there and the lasting relationships I formed were just great.’
      • ‘Similar relationships have been formed with all foreign suppliers with whom they import directly.’
      • ‘Walpole had served George I for many years and George II soon formed an equally successful relationship with him.’
      • ‘Autism is a cruel condition that shuts children away in their own world and prevents them forming normal friendships and relationships.’
      • ‘Daladier often poured out his heart to Bullitt in this way, and formed an extremely close relationship with him.’
      • ‘The researchers speculated that separation from parents might hinder the chances of forming intimate relationships as an adult.’
      • ‘We've formed a very good relationship that's like a family to me.’
      • ‘During this briefer spell he formed a mutually enriching friendship with Gustav Holst.’
      • ‘He has difficulty forming intimate or trusting relationships.’
      • ‘During the 2-year course at the college, the students formed strong bonds with each other and their mentors.’
      • ‘He has worked with many players from the current squad already, and has formed a close bond with them.’
      • ‘That result may help explain the difficulties many of these children have in forming secure relationships.’
      • ‘For a while many settled down and formed relationships with local women.’
      • ‘Subsequently, an authentic relationship must be formed with each student, each semester.’
      • ‘Those who did not like me just let me get on with my life, conversely, I formed some very strong friendships, none of which depended upon answers to the homework or lifts in the car.’
      • ‘Lucky for us, the relationships that we formed allowed us a lot of freedom to explore what was really going on.’
      • ‘Alliances can be quickly formed, and supportive friendships quickly made.’
      • ‘She was glad to make friends with him, despite the tense circumstances under which the relationship had been formed.’
    6. 1.6 Articulate (a word, speech sound, or other linguistic unit).
      • ‘I tried to talk but I couldn't quite concentrate on single words or forming complete sentences at the moment.’
      • ‘He felt the impulse to shout. His lips began to form the words.’
      • ‘With the lips and tongue, teeth help form words by controlling air flow out of the mouth.’
      • ‘He stared at the jury foreman's face, watched as his mouth formed the word ‘not’, but still he felt nothing other than anger.’
      • ‘She spoke very precisely, every word formed and enunciated with perfect diction.’
      • ‘His lips kept forming the same words over and over again.’
    7. 1.7 Construct (a new word) by derivation or inflection.
      • ‘And for these writers, gingerly is pretty clearly just a common-or-garden adverb formed in ly.’
      • ‘A number of other terms have been formed in the past two decades using tourism or tourist as one of the elements.’
      • ‘The word was formed by a rather circuitous route, according to the OED's etymological information.’
      • ‘This was formed in the sixteenth century from the verb disable, but the corresponding adjective abled seems not to have been used at that time.’
      • ‘Most people only know a very few of the more common words formed using the suffix phobia.’
      • ‘New words are formed in a variety of ways, some of which overlap with each other.’
      • ‘Although they often belong in clusters, complex words are usually formed one at a time in accordance with more or less established patterns.’
  • 2Make or fashion into a certain shape or form.

    ‘form the dough into balls’
    • ‘I arrived there late in the evening just as the smoke from the village fires was forming a perfect horizontal line above the fields.’
    • ‘This clay was formed into a pot, mainly by building it up from layers of rings which are smoothed together by hand or on a wheel.’
    • ‘Dairiseki looked up, and her eyebrows pulled tightly together, forming a crease in the center of her forehead.’
    • ‘With the mirrors facing inwards, tape the 3 cardboards together to form a triangular container.’
    • ‘Bronwen stopped and brought her hands together, forming a steeple with her long fingers.’
    • ‘Add the oil, rosemary, flour and salt and bring together to form a dough.’
    • ‘Bricks are made from clay and other materials which are formed into shapes then fired in a kiln to make them strong and durable.’
    • ‘With the boulevard Massena, they form a triangle of broad, leafy streets that defines Paris' Asian quarter.’
    • ‘His lips formed into a thin line when he saw Jason wrap his arm around me.’
    • ‘The light surrounded the boy, and formed into the shape of a Chinese dragon.’
    • ‘Due to the karst topography, rocks and caves along the river have formed in strange shapes, stimulating the imagination of sightseers.’
    • ‘The shoulders of the dress hung off Isabelle's shoulders and the sleeves went all the way down her arm forming a ‘v’ shape on the top of each hand.’
    • ‘The film also shows multiple shots of two adult penguins cuddling side by side, their beaks touching and forming almost a heart shape.’
    • ‘As she edged closer, she could see shapes forming in the centre of each light.’
    • ‘Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water and bring together to form a firm dough.’
    • ‘One of stone's great beauties is that it can be shaped and formed in any way you like.’
    • ‘Mix everything together lightly but thoroughly, then form the mixture into 4 plump patties.’
    • ‘Wet your hands well with cold water, and form the mixture into small, flattened sausage shapes about 8cm long.’
    • ‘His own lips were slightly parted, forming a small ‘o’ shape.’
    • ‘The mixture is heated over a low fire, then formed into shape and cooled.’
    make, fashion, shape, model, mould, forge, found, cast, sculpt, hew, carve
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1be formed Have a specified shape.
      ‘her body was slight and flawlessly formed’
      • ‘The hands themselves were beautifully formed, so white they seemed carved of alabaster.’
      • ‘The chapel was small but perfectly formed, constructed like a miniature church.’
      • ‘Her face was perfectly formed with high cheekbones and tanned smooth skin.’
      • ‘Superbly formed and highly expressive, these extraordinary buildings emerge from the most basic of materials, earth and water, and in the harshest of conditions.’
      • ‘The UK, small but perfectly formed is a great place to be a mountain biker.’
    2. 2.2form intoMilitary no object Be made or fashioned into a certain shape or form.
      ‘his strong features formed into a smile of pleasure’
      • ‘I immediately ran away from the aircraft to where the rest of the crew had formed up.’
      • ‘The Roman fleet formed up in an unusual formation that proved to be very effective.’
      • ‘He quickly formed his army up to meet an attack, but his crossbowmen were still on the other side of the river.’
      • ‘Thursday we formed up the cars and drove to Colonial Williamsburg, maybe two miles away.’
      • ‘Believing that easy pickings were in store, the American warships formed up and closed range.’
      • ‘The defenders fired from the walls, but the artillery breached a gate and when the storming party formed up, the defenders departed, leaving the city to be taken.’
      • ‘They took position on the high ground and watched government troops form up on the slopes below.’
      • ‘The defenders formed up in a V-shaped formation.’
      • ‘The 10th Battalion and 16th Battalion formed up for the counter-attack in the assembly positions.’
      • ‘The Detachments marching in the Procession are formed up in The Mall, Marlborough Road and Cleveland Row.’
      • ‘The Austrians were formed up in a strong position 4 miles wide, in an area of rolling country, with the village of Leuthen at their centre, and their flanks protected by marshy ground.’
      • ‘The rest of my unit got out of the train of hummers, and formed up behind me.’
      • ‘He took up his staff and stepped into the middle of the clearing, standing before the ranks of troops that had formed up to finish off the rebels.’
      • ‘They formed up in three squadron lines, 1100m across, 300 metres apart and with 4 to 5 m between horsemen.’
      • ‘The general snapped his fingers twice, and the soldiers formed up into a dense phalanx.’
      • ‘And while the rebels formed up on the ridge, the royalists did the same some 500 yards away - out of shot from the dreaded longbows.’
      • ‘The men form up on the Green as the sound of marching British troops is heard.’
      • ‘‘We must form up our troops and attack while we still have the advantage of surprise’ Jacomus added.’
      • ‘After lunch we formed up and practised our parade drill and made sure that everyone knew what was going on; when the time came for the real thing we were all ready for it.’
      • ‘The regular fighters were deploying out of the other bays, and forming up in the standard offensive formation ahead of the bigger ships.’
    3. 2.3 Shape or develop by training or discipline.
      • ‘Nelson immediately returned to the West Indies, and his years there formed him as a naval officer.’
      • ‘Think about the way good parents try to form their children. Their work is consistently geared toward an overall plan for their family.’
      • ‘Thus, conscience must be formed through education and prayer, and be informed by the teaching of Christ.’
      • ‘Augustine writes that hardship is a gift from God that shapes us and forms us into what God wants us to be.’
      • ‘Manz is quick to acknowledge the mentors who formed him.’
    4. 2.4 Influence or shape (something abstract)
      ‘the role of the news media in forming public opinion’
      • ‘His politics were formed by his experiences serving in the army and he now lives in London ‘in voluntary exile’.’
      • ‘This leads us to another point in the importance of the legends and folklore in forming and shaping a nation's character.’
      • ‘The feminist view of useless men may be extreme, but it has been hugely influential. For Gloria Steinem, who grew up with an alcoholic father, it formed her character and launched an entire movement.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, polls are influential in forming public opinion and attitudes.’
      • ‘Dunn focuses on the upbringing that formed the young women's characters.’
      develop, mould, shape, train, teach, instruct, educate, school, tutor, coach, groom, drill, discipline, prime, prepare, guide, direct, inform, verse, enlighten, inculcate, indoctrinate, edify, cultivate, improve, better, uplift, elevate
      View synonyms


  • in form

    • (of an athlete or sports team) playing or performing well.

      • ‘She went out in the second round of the women's doubles but hopes to be back on form for this month's Commonwealth Games.’
      • ‘When they are on form they look great but when they're not they look very average.’
      • ‘Gough said all of England's players needed to be in form by the start of the Test series in July.’
      • ‘He is very fast and skillful, and when on form he is the best player in the team.’
      • ‘France's Philippe Lima, with wins in Spain and his home county in the last two months, is clearly the man in form.’
      • ‘Fourth-placed All Blacks need a win to keep in the promotion hunt but come up against a team in form.’
      • ‘There can be no doubt that Andy Johnson is a man in form, but is he really international quality?’
      • ‘Benitez is a canny coach, and he may just coax some good performances out of Liverpool, provided their strikers remain fit and on form.’
      • ‘Teddy Sheringham is on form, and is playing well with Solskjaer.’
      • ‘Man of the match was George Guest who was on form in midfield.’
  • off (or out of) form

    • (of an athlete or sports team) not playing or performing well.

      • ‘IT is unfortunate that our captain is woefully out of form.’
      • ‘With Bergkamp on the wane and Kanu off form, a new striker is also high on the manager's priorities.’
      • ‘Both clubs have tons of good players but it only takes a couple to be off form and this could be decisive.’
      • ‘Both are deemed by the selectors to be out of form at present, but both are talented enough to make a come-back to the team.’
      • ‘Most of the batsmen have been out of form on this tour, but we have to find some ways to score runs.’
      • ‘England's pre-match selection was suspect, with Iain Balshaw chosen at full-back despite being completely out of form.’
      • ‘Roddick looked off form in Athens and failed to convert four break points in the decisive game of the match.’
      • ‘We've obviously been out of form the last five weeks so it's a pretty big game.’
      • ‘Brazil, clear favourites to retain the World Cup in Germany this summer, have several key players out of form and under fire from the media.’
      • ‘Equally out of form Aston Villa travel to cup specialists Sheffield United for what is sure to be a high tempo, passionate affair.’


Middle English: from Old French forme (noun), fo(u)rmer (verb, from Latin formare ‘to form’), both based on Latin forma ‘a mold or form’.