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[fawrm] /fɔrm/
external appearance of a clearly defined area, as distinguished from color or material; configuration:
a triangular form.
the shape of a thing or person.
a body, especially that of a human being.
a dummy having the same measurements as a human body, used for fitting or displaying clothing:
a dressmaker's form.
something that gives or determines shape; a mold.
a particular condition, character, or mode in which something appears:
water in the form of ice.
the manner or style of arranging and coordinating parts for a pleasing or effective result, as in literary or musical composition:
a unique form for the novel.
Fine Arts.
  1. the organization, placement, or relationship of basic elements, as lines and colors in a painting or volumes and voids in a sculpture, so as to produce a coherent image; the formal structure of a work of art.
  2. three-dimensional quality or volume, as of a represented object or anatomical part.
  3. an object, person, or part of the human body or the appearance of any of these, especially as seen in nature:
    His work is characterized by the radical distortion of the human form.
any assemblage of things of a similar kind constituting a component of a group, especially of a zoological group.
Crystallography. the combination of all the like faces possible on a crystal of given symmetry.
due or proper shape; orderly arrangement of parts; good order.
  1. the structure, pattern, organization, or essential nature of anything.
  2. structure or pattern as distinguished from matter.
  3. (initial capital letter) Platonism. idea (def 7c).
  4. Aristotelianism. that which places a thing in its particular species or kind.
Logic. the abstract relations of terms in a proposition, and of propositions to one another.
a set, prescribed, or customary order or method of doing something.
a set order of words, as for use in religious ritual or in a legal document:
a form for initiating new members.
a document with blank spaces to be filled in with particulars before it is executed:
a tax form.
a typical document to be used as a guide in framing others for like cases:
a form for a deed.
a conventional method of procedure or behavior:
society's forms.
a formality or ceremony, often with implication of absence of real meaning:
to go through the outward forms of a religious wedding.
procedure according to a set order or method.
conformity to the usages of society; formality; ceremony:
the elaborate forms prevalent in the courts of renaissance kings.
procedure or conduct, as judged by social standards:
Such behavior is very bad form. Good form demands that we go.
manner or method of performing something; technique:
The violin soloist displayed tremendous form.
physical condition or fitness, as for performing:
a tennis player in peak form.
  1. a word, part of a word, or group of words forming a construction that recurs in various contexts in a language with relatively constant meaning.
    Compare linguistic form.
  2. a particular shape of such a form that occurs in more than one shape. In I'm, 'm is a form of am.
  3. a word with a particular inflectional ending or other modification. Goes is a form of go.
Linguistics. the shape or pattern of a word or other construction (distinguished from substance).
Building Trades. temporary boarding or sheeting of plywood or metal for giving a desired shape to poured concrete, rammed earth, etc.
a grade or class of pupils in a British secondary school or in certain U.S. private schools:
boys in the fourth form.
British. a bench or long seat.
Also, British, forme. Printing. an assemblage of types, leads, etc., secured in a chase to print from.
verb (used with object)
to construct or frame.
to make or produce.
to serve to make up; serve as; compose; constitute:
The remaining members will form the program committee.
to place in order; arrange; organize.
to frame (ideas, opinions, etc.) in the mind.
to contract or develop (habits, friendships, etc.).
to give form or shape to; shape; fashion.
to give a particular form or shape to; fashion in a particular manner:
Form the dough into squares.
to mold or develop by discipline or instructions:
The sergeant's job was to form boys into men.
  1. to make (a derivation) by some grammatical change:
    The suffix “-ly” forms adverbs from adjectives.
  2. to have (a grammatical feature) represented in a particular shape:
    English forms plurals in “-s”.
Military. to draw up in lines or in formation.
verb (used without object)
to take or assume form.
to be formed or produced:
Ice began to form on the window.
to take a particular form or arrangement:
The ice formed in patches across the window.
Origin of form
1175-1225; Middle English forme < Old French < Latin fōrma form, figure, model, mold, sort, Medieval Latin: seat
Related forms
formable, adjective
formably, adverb
half-formed, adjective
misform, verb
misformed, adjective
nonform, noun
nonforming, adjective
overformed, adjective
self-formed, adjective
semiformed, adjective
subform, noun
underform, noun
Can be confused
form, forum (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. mold, cast, cut. Form, figure, outline, shape refer to an appearance that can be recognized. Form, figure, and shape are often used to mean an area defined by contour without regard to other identifying qualities, as color or material. Outline refers to the line that delimits a form, figure, or shape: the outline of a hill. Form often includes a sense of mass or volume: a solid form. Shape may refer to an outline or a form: an “S” shape; a woman's shape. Figure often refers to a form or shape determined by its outline: the figure eight. Form and shape may also be applied to abstractions: the shape or form of the future. Form is applied to physical objects, mental images, methods of procedure, etc.; it is a more inclusive term than either shape or figure : the form of a cross, of a ceremony, of a poem. 5. model, pattern, jig. 9. sort, kind, order, type. 14. ceremony, ritual, formula, formality, rule. 16. blank. 19, 20. system, mode, practice, formula. 31. model, fabricate, mold, forge, cast, outline. 32. create. 34. systematize, dispose. 39. teach, educate, train.
1. substance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for half-formed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His mind, as developed in his works, had half-formed her own.

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • If she ever had a half-formed intention of telling him everything she had given it up now.

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • Therefore it was not difficult to turn him from his half-formed purpose.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter
  • I did not say anything about my half-formed intention to run away.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • It is the half-formed, the perplexed, and the suggestively monstrous.

    The Sense of Beauty George Santayana
  • These could appreciate; and counselled me in consonance with my half-formed resolution.

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • Was that the half-formed idea that inspired him, unknown to himself?

    The Frontier Maurice LeBlanc
  • The situation crystallized the half-formed resolve in Jennie's mind.

    Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser
  • She even had to suppress the half-formed longing that it might always be so.

    Too Old for Dolls

    Anthony Mario Ludovici
British Dictionary definitions for half-formed


not or not having been fully formed


the shape or configuration of something as distinct from its colour, texture, etc
the particular mode, appearance, etc, in which a thing or person manifests itself: water in the form of ice, in the form of a bat
a type or kind: imprisonment is a form of punishment
  1. a printed document, esp one with spaces in which to insert facts or answers: an application form
  2. (as modifier): a form letter
physical or mental condition, esp good condition, with reference to ability to perform: off form
the previous record of a horse, athlete, etc, esp with regard to fitness
(Brit, slang) a criminal record
style, arrangement, or design in the arts, as opposed to content
a fixed mode of artistic expression or representation in literary, musical, or other artistic works: sonata form, sonnet form
a mould, frame, etc, that gives shape to something
organized structure or order, as in an artistic work
(education, mainly Brit) a group of children who are taught together; class
manner, method, or style of doing something, esp with regard to recognized standards
behaviour or procedure, esp as governed by custom or etiquette: good form
formality or ceremony
a prescribed set or order of words, terms, etc, as in a religious ceremony or legal document
  1. the structure of anything as opposed to its constitution or content
  2. essence as opposed to matter
  3. (often capital) (in the philosophy of Plato) the ideal universal that exists independently of the particulars which fall under it See also Form
  4. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) the constitution of matter to form a substance; by virtue of this its nature can be understood
(Brit) a bench, esp one that is long, low, and backless
the nest or hollow in which a hare lives
a group of organisms within a species that differ from similar groups by trivial differences, as of colour
  1. the phonological or orthographic shape or appearance of a linguistic element, such as a word
  2. a linguistic element considered from the point of view of its shape or sound rather than, for example, its meaning
(crystallog) See crystal form
(taxonomy) a group distinguished from other groups by a single characteristic: ranked below a variety
to give shape or form to or to take shape or form, esp a specified or particular shape
to come or bring into existence: a scum formed on the surface
to make, produce, or construct or be made, produced, or constructed
to construct or develop in the mind: to form an opinion
(transitive) to train, develop, or mould by instruction, discipline, or example
(transitive) to acquire, contract, or develop: to form a habit
(transitive) to be an element of, serve as, or constitute: this plank will form a bridge
(transitive) to draw up; organize: to form a club
Derived Forms
formable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French forme, from Latin forma shape, model


(in the philosophy of Plato) an ideal archetype existing independently of those individuals which fall under it, supposedly explaining their common properties and serving as the only objects of true knowledge as opposed to the mere opinion obtainable of matters of fact Also called Idea
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for half-formed



early 13c., from Old French forme "physical form, appearance, pleasing looks; shape, image," from Latin forma "form, contour, figure, shape; appearance, looks' model, pattern, design; sort, kind condition," origin unknown. One theory holds that it is from Greek morphe "form, beauty, outward appearance" (see Morpheus) via Etruscan [Klein]. Sense of "behavior" is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "a document with blanks to be filled in" is from 1855.



c.1300, from Old French fourmer, from Latin formare, from forma "form, contour, figure, shape" (see form (n.)). Related: Formed; forming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for half-formed



The record of past performances by a horse, team, competitor, etc; the BOOK, track record: What's the form on General Electric this quarter?/ The form on the little gelding is super

[1940s+ Horse racing; fr form, ''the fitness or condition of a racehorse,'' which is found by 1760]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with half-formed


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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