Definition of form noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary





1 [countable] a type or variety of somethingforms of transportation/government/energyone of the most common forms of cancerall the millions of different life forms on the planet today see also art form

way something is/looks

2 [countable, uncountable] the particular way something is, seems, looks, or is presentedThe disease can take several different forms.Help in the form of money will be very welcome.Help arrived in the form of two police officers.The training program takes the form of a series of workshops.Most political questions involve morality in some form or other.We need to come to some form of agreement.I'm opposed to censorship in any way, shape, or form.This dictionary is also available in electronic form.


3 [countable] an official document containing questions and spaces for answersan application/entry/order formto fill out a formI filled out a form on their Web complete a forma reservation form


4 [countable] the shape of someone or something; a person or thing of which only the shape can be seenher slender formThe human form has changed little over the last 30,000 years.They made out a shadowy form in front of them.

arrangement of parts

5 [uncountable] the arrangement of parts in a whole, especially in a work of art or piece of writingShape and form are of greater importance to me than color.In a novel, form and content are equally important.


6 [uncountable] how well someone or something is performing; the fact that someone or something is performing wellThe new quarterback shows disappointing form so far this season.She signaled her return to form with a convincing victory.She was in great form (= happy and cheerful and full of energy) at the wedding party.

way of doing things

7 [uncountable, countable] the usual way of doing somethingconventional social formsTrue to form (= as he usually does) he arrived an hour late.Partners of employees are invited as a matter of form.

of word

8 [countable] a way of writing or saying a word that shows, for example, if it is plural or in a particular tensethe infinitive form of the verb

in any (way,) shape or form

(informal) of any typeI don't approve of violence in any shape or any shape or formin any way, shape or form

take form

(formal) to gradually form into a particular shape; to gradually developIn her body a new life was taking form.take form
Usage noteUsage note: structureframework form composition construction fabricThese are all words for the way the different parts of something combine together or the way that something has been made.structure the way in which the parts of something are connected together or arranged; a particular arrangement of parts: the structure of the building/human body the social structure of society the grammatical structures of a language a salary structureframework a set of beliefs, ideas, or rules that forms the basis of a system or society: The report provides a framework for further research.form the arrangement of parts in a whole, especially in a work of art or piece of writing: As a photographer, shape and form were more important to him than color.composition (somewhat formal) the different parts or people that combine to form something; the way in which they combine: recent changes in the composition of our workforceconstruction the way that something has been built or made: He blamed the accident on shoddy construction.fabric (somewhat formal) the basic structure of a society or an organization that enables it to function successfully: This is a trend that threatens the very fabric of society.patternsthe basic structure/framework/form/composition/construction/fabric of somethinga simple/complex structure/framework/formthe economic/political/social structure/framework/composition/fabric of somethingthe chemical/genetic structure/composition of something