form

The way something (or someone) is shaped or arranged is its form. You might use it to describe the way a person looks walking in the woods at dusk by saying, "Her form was almost lost between the shadowy trees."

Physical objects have a form, and so do less tangible things like music, movies, and stories. When form is used as a verb, it means "to give shape to," as when a filmmaker works to form the narrative of her movie so that it makes sense to the audience.

Primary Meanings of form

1.
nv
a perceptual structure
create (as an entity)
2.
nv
any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
make something, usually for a specific function
3.
n
an arrangement of the elements in a composition or discourse
4.
n
(biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups
5.
n
the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something
6.
n
an ability to perform well
Full Definitions of form
1

n a perceptual structure

“the composition presents problems for students of musical form
Synonyms:
pattern, shape
Types:
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
fractal
(mathematics) a geometric pattern that is repeated at every scale and so cannot be represented by classical geometry
gestalt
a configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts
grid
a pattern of regularly spaced horizontal and vertical lines
kaleidoscope
a complex pattern of constantly changing colors and shapes
mosaic
a pattern resembling a mosaic
strand
a pattern forming a unity within a larger structural whole
reference grid
a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that provide coordinates for locating points on an image or a map
Amsler grid
a pattern of small boxes that is used for self-monitoring by patients who have age-related macular degeneration
Type of:
structure
the complex composition of knowledge as elements and their combinations

n a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality

“sculpture is a form of art”
Synonyms:
kind, sort, variety
Types:
show 23 types...
hide 23 types...
description
sort or variety
type
a subdivision of a particular kind of thing
antitype
an opposite or contrasting type
art form
(architecture) a form of artistic expression (such as writing or painting or architecture)
style
a particular kind (as to appearance)
flavor, flavour
(physics) the six kinds of quarks
color, colour
(physics) the characteristic of quarks that determines their role in the strong interaction
species
a specific kind of something
genus
a general kind of something
brand, make
a recognizable kind
genre
a kind of literary or artistic work
ilk, like
a kind of person
manner
a kind
model
a type of product
stripe
a kind or category
like, the like, the likes of
a similar kind
breed
a special type
nature
a particular type of thing
edition, variant, variation, version
something a little different from others of the same type
architectural style, style of architecture, type of architecture
architecture as a kind of art form
charm
(physics) one of the six flavors of quark
strangeness
(physics) one of the six flavors of quark
sonata form
a musical form having 3 sections -- exposition and development and recapitulation; characteristic of 1st movement of a sonata or symphony
Type of:
category
a general concept that marks divisions or coordinations in a conceptual scheme

n a particular mode in which something is manifested

“his resentment took the form of extreme hostility”
Type of:
fashion, manner, modality, mode, style, way
how something is done or how it happens

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

Synonyms:
phase
Types:
dispersed particles, dispersed phase
(of colloids) a substance in the colloidal state
dispersing medium, dispersing phase, dispersion medium
(of colloids) a substance in which another is colloidally dispersed
Type of:
state, state of matter
(chemistry) the three traditional states of matter are solids (fixed shape and volume) and liquids (fixed volume and shaped by the container) and gases (filling the container)

v create (as an entity)

“social groups form everywhere”
“They formed a company”
Synonyms:
organise, organize
Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
regroup, reorganise, reorganize
organize anew, as after a setback
choose up
form sides, as for a game
draw up
form or arrange in order or formation, as of a body of soldiers
regiment
form (military personnel) into a regiment
syndicate
organize into or form a syndicate
Type of:
create, make
make or cause to be or to become

v give shape or form to

form the young child's character”
Synonyms:
shape
Types:
show 34 types...
hide 34 types...
individuate
give individual shape or form to
tie
form a knot or bow in
terrace
make into terraces as for cultivation
fork
shape like a fork
tabulate
shape or cut with a flat surface
dimension
shape or form to required dimensions
roll
shape by rolling
draw
flatten, stretch, or mold metal or glass, by rolling or by pulling it through a die or by stretching
strike
cause to form (an electric arc) between electrodes of an arc lamp
crystalise, crystalize, crystallise, crystallize
cause to take on a definite and clear shape
twist
form into twists
sliver
form into slivers
ridge
form into a ridge
plume
form a plume
round, round off, round out
make round
scallop, scollop
shape or cut in scallops
square, square up
make square
dish
make concave; shape like a dish
fit
make fit
flatten
make flat or flatter
deform, distort, strain
alter the shape of (something) by stress
blow
shape by blowing
block
shape into a block or blocks
block
shape by using a block
cup
form into the shape of a cup
circle, encircle
form a circle around
turn
shape by rotating on a lathe or cutting device or a wheel
purse
contract one's lips into a rounded shape
steamroll, steamroller
make level or flat with a steamroller
splat
split open and flatten for cooking
jaundice
distort adversely
roll, roll out
flatten or spread with a roller
laminate
press or beat (metals) into thin sheets
dovetail
fit together tightly, as if by means of a dovetail
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v develop into a distinctive entity

Synonyms:
spring, take form, take shape
Types:
regenerate
be formed or shaped anew
Type of:
become
come into existence

v to compose or represent:"This wall forms the background of the stage setting"

Synonyms:
constitute, make
Types:
chelate
form a chelate, in chemistry
add
constitute an addition
Type of:
be, comprise, constitute, make up, represent
form or compose

v establish or impress firmly in the mind

Synonyms:
imprint
Type of:
act upon, influence, work
have and exert influence or effect
2

n any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)

Synonyms:
configuration, conformation, contour, shape
Types:
show 27 types...
hide 27 types...
keenness, sharpness
thinness of edge or fineness of point
bluntness, dullness
without sharpness or clearness of edge or point
topography
the configuration of a surface and the relations among its man-made and natural features
lobularity
the property of having lobules
concaveness, concavity
the property possessed by a concave shape
convexity, convexness
the property possessed by a convex shape
angularity
the property possessed by a shape that has angles
narrowing
an instance of becoming narrow
curvature, curve
the property possessed by the curving of a line or surface
roundness
the property possessed by a line or surface that is curved and not angular
straightness
freedom from crooks or curves or bends or angles
crookedness
having or distinguished by crooks or curves or bends or angles
stratification
a layered configuration
acuteness
the quality of having a sharp edge or point
obtuseness
the quality of lacking a sharp edge or point
hollowness
the property of having a sunken area
bulginess, roundedness
the property possessed by a rounded convexity
coarctation
(biology) a narrowing or constriction of a vessel or canal; especially a congenital narrowing of the aorta
taper
the property possessed by a shape that narrows toward a point (as a wedge or cone)
oblongness, rectangularity
the property of being shaped like a rectangle
triangularity
the property of being shaped like a triangle
globosity, globularness, rotundity, rotundness, sphericalness, sphericity
the roundness of a 3-dimensional object
cylindricality, cylindricalness
the roundness of a 3-dimensional cylinder
circularity, disk shape
the roundness of a 2-dimensional figure
curliness, waviness
(of hair) a tendency to curl
straightness
(of hair) lack of a tendency to curl
bottleneck, chokepoint, constriction
a narrowing that reduces the flow through a channel
Type of:
spatial property, spatiality
any property relating to or occupying space

n the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance

Synonyms:
shape
Examples:
show 4 examples...
hide 4 examples...
Colossus of Rhodes
a huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios that was built around 285 BC and that stood beside the harbor entrance on the island of Rhodes for about 50 years before it was toppled by an earthquake
Statue of Liberty
a large monumental statue symbolizing liberty on Liberty Island in New York Bay
Denali Fault
a major open geological fault in Alaska
San Andreas Fault
a major geological fault in California; runs from San Diego to San Francisco; the source of serious earthquakes
Types:
show 70 types...
hide 70 types...
solid
a three-dimensional shape
plane, sheet
(mathematics) an unbounded two-dimensional shape
natural shape
a shape created by natural forces; not man-made
flair, flare
a shape that spreads outward
figure
a combination of points and lines and planes that form a visible palpable shape
line
a length (straight or curved) without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point
angular shape, angularity
a shape having one or more sharp angles
round shape
a shape that is curved and without sharp angles
distorted shape, distortion
a shape resulting from distortion
amorphous shape
an ill-defined or arbitrary shape
connection, connexion, link
a connecting shape
circle
something approximating the shape of a circle
square
something approximating the shape of a square
triangle
something approximating the shape of a triangle
column, pillar, tower
anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower
plume
anything that resembles a feather in shape or lightness
curve
a line on a graph representing data
Cartesian plane
a plane in which all points can be described in Cartesian coordinates
facet plane
the plane of a facet of an object (as of a cube)
midline, midplane
the median plane of the body (or some part of the body)
orbital plane
(astronomy) the plane on which a body is orbiting
picture plane
the plane that is in the foreground of a drawing or painting; coextensive with but different from the objective surface of the work
tangent plane
the plane that contains all the lines tangent to a specific point on a surface
leaf form, leaf shape
any of the various shape that leaves of plants can assume
equilateral
a figure whose sides are all equal
pencil
a figure formed by a set of straight lines or light rays meeting at a point
plane figure, two-dimensional figure
a two-dimensional shape
solid figure, three-dimensional figure
a three-dimensional shape
subfigure
a figure that is a part of another figure
bulb
anything with a round shape resembling a teardrop
convex shape, convexity
a shape that curves or bulges outward
concave shape, concavity, incurvation, incurvature
a shape that curves or bends inward
cylinder
a solid bounded by a cylindrical surface and two parallel planes (the bases)
curve, curved shape
the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
straight line
a line traced by a point traveling in a constant direction; a line of zero curvature
geodesic, geodesic line
(mathematics) the shortest line between two points on a mathematically defined surface (as a straight line on a plane or an arc of a great circle on a sphere)
perimeter
a line enclosing a plane areas
center line, centerline
a line that bisects a plane figure
cone, cone shape, conoid
a shape whose base is a circle and whose sides taper up to a point
disc, disk, saucer
something with a round shape resembling a flat circular plate
coil, curl, curlicue, gyre, ringlet, roll, scroll, whorl
a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals)
convolution, swirl, vortex, whirl
the shape of something rotating rapidly
parallel
(mathematics) one of a set of parallel geometric figures (parallel lines or planes)
polyhedron
a solid figure bounded by plane polygons or faces
contortion, crookedness, torsion, tortuosity, tortuousness
a tortuous and twisted shape or position
buckle, warp
a shape distorted by twisting or folding
gnarl, knot
something twisted and tight and swollen
forking, furcation
the place where something divides into branches
jog
a sharp change in direction
zag, zig, zigzag
an angular shape characterized by sharp turns in alternating directions
ellipsoid of revolution, spheroid
a shape that is generated by rotating an ellipse around one of its axes
sphere
a three-dimensional closed surface such that every point on the surface is equidistant from the center
sphere
a solid figure bounded by a spherical surface (including the space it encloses)
cylinder
a surface generated by rotating a parallel line around a fixed line
toroid, torus
a ring-shaped surface generated by rotating a circle around an axis that does not intersect the circle
toroid
the doughnut-shaped object enclosed by a torus
columella
a small column (or structure resembling a column) that is a part of a plant or animal
hoodoo
(geology) a column of weathered and unusually shaped rock
rim
the shape of a raised edge of a more or less circular object
bound, boundary, edge
a line determining the limits of an area
bend, crease, crimp, flexure, fold, plication
an angular or rounded shape made by folding
shapelessness
an amorphous or indefinite shape
blob
an indistinct shapeless form
space
an empty area (usually bounded in some way between things)
node
a connecting point at which several lines come together
articulation, join, joint, junction, juncture
the shape or manner in which things come together and a connection is made
cast, mold, mould, stamp
the distinctive form in which a thing is made
block, cube
a three-dimensional shape with six square or rectangular sides
ovoid
an egg-shaped object
frustum
a truncated cone or pyramid; the part that is left when a cone or pyramid is cut by a plane parallel to the base and the apical part is removed
Type of:
attribute
an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of an entity

n the visual appearance of something or someone

Synonyms:
cast, shape
Type of:
appearance, visual aspect
outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

n alternative names for the body of a human being

Synonyms:
anatomy, bod, build, chassis, figure, flesh, frame, human body, material body, physical body, physique, shape, soma
Types:
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
person
a human body (usually including the clothing)
juvenile body
the body of a young person
adult body
the body of an adult human being
male body
the body of a male human being
female body
the body of a female human being
child's body
the body of a human child
adult female body, woman's body
the body of an adult woman
adult male body, man's body
the body of an adult man
Type of:
body, organic structure, physical structure
the entire structure of an organism (an animal, plant, or human being)

n a life-size dummy used to display clothes

Synonyms:
manakin, manikin, mannequin, mannikin
Type of:
dummy
a figure representing the human form

n a mold for setting concrete

“they built elaborate forms for pouring the foundation”
Type of:
cast, mold, mould
container into which liquid is poured to create a given shape when it hardens

v make something, usually for a specific function

Form cylinders from the dough”
Synonyms:
forge, mold, mould, shape, work
process, work, work on
shape, form, or improve a material
Types:
show 33 types...
hide 33 types...
carve
form by carving
swage, upset
form metals with a swage
chip
form by chipping
layer
make or form a layer
cut out
form and create by cutting out
machine
turn, shape, mold, or otherwise finish by machinery
grind
shape or form by grinding
stamp
form or cut out with a mold, form, or die
puddle
subject to puddling or form by puddling
beat
shape by beating
preform
form or shape beforehand or determine the shape of beforehand
preform
form into a shape resembling the final, desired one
mound
form into a rounded elevation
hill
form into a hill
roughcast
shape roughly
remold, reshape
shape again or shape differently
sinter
cause (ores or powdery metals) to become a coherent mass by heating without melting
cast, mold, mould
form by pouring (e.g., wax or hot metal) into a cast or mold
throw
make on a potter's wheel
coil, hand-build, handbuild
make without a potter's wheel
sculpt, sculpture
create by shaping stone or wood or any other hard material
model, mold, mould
form in clay, wax, etc
hew, hew out
make or shape as with an axe
gouge out
make gouges into a surface
rabbet
cut a rectangular groove into
grave, sculpt, sculpture
shape (a material like stone or wood) by whittling away at it
die, die out
cut or shape with a die
mound over
form a mound over
press, press out
press from a plastic
recast, remold, remould
cast again
sand cast
pour molten metal into a mold of sand
forge, hammer
create by hammering
fret
carve a pattern into
Type of:
create from raw material, create from raw stuff
make from scratch

v assume a form or shape

“the water formed little beads”
Types:
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
constellate
form a constellation or cluster
culminate
rise to, or form, a summit
grain, granulate
form into grains
conglobate, conglobe
assume a globular shape
bunch, bunch up, bundle, clump, cluster
gather or cause to gather into a cluster
brecciate
form into breccia
reticulate
divide so as to form a network
flake
form into flakes
head
form a head or come or grow to a head
bead
form into beads, as of water or sweat, for example
agglomerate
form into one cluster
Type of:
change
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
3

n an arrangement of the elements in a composition or discourse

“the essay was in the form of a dialogue”
“he first sketches the plot in outline form
Types:
versification
the form or metrical composition of a poem
poetic rhythm, prosody, rhythmic pattern
(prosody) a system of versification
rhyme, rime
correspondence in the sounds of two or more lines (especially final sounds)
Type of:
genre, literary genre, writing style
a style of expressing yourself in writing

n a printed document with spaces in which to write

“he filled out his tax form
Types:
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
application form
a form to use when making an application
claim form
a form to use when filing a claim
order form
a form to use when placing an order
questionnaire
a form containing a set of questions; submitted to people to gain statistical information
requisition, requisition form
an official form on which a request in made
tax form
a form to use when paying your taxes
telegraph form
a form to use when sending a telegram
personality assessment, personality inventory
a questionnaire that is supposed to yield a description of a person's personality traits
Type of:
document, papers, written document
writing that provides information (especially information of an official nature)
4

n (biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups

Synonyms:
strain, var., variant
Type of:
taxon, taxonomic category, taxonomic group
animal or plant group having natural relations

n a body of students who are taught together

Synonyms:
class, course, grade
Types:
master class
a class (especially in music) given to talented students by an expert
discussion section, section
a small class of students who are part of a larger course but are taught separately
Type of:
assemblage, gathering
a group of persons together in one place
5

n the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something

“the inflected forms of a word can be represented by a stem and a list of inflections to be attached”
Synonyms:
descriptor, signifier, word form
Types:
show 9 types...
hide 9 types...
plural, plural form
the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
singular, singular form
the form of a word that is used to denote a singleton
ghost word
a word form that has entered the language through the perpetuation of an error
base, radical, root, root word, stem, theme
(linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed
etymon, root
a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
citation form, entry word, main entry word
the form of a word that heads a lexical entry and is alphabetized in a dictionary
abbreviation
a shortened form of a word or phrase
acronym
a word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name
apocope
abbreviation of a word by omitting the final sound or sounds
Type of:
word
a unit of language that native speakers can identify
6

n an ability to perform well

“he was at the top of his form
“the team was off form last night”
Type of:
ability
the quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.