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[kuh n-fawrm] /kənˈfɔrm/
verb (used without object)
to act in accordance or harmony; comply (usually followed by to):
to conform to rules.
to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc., of society or a group:
One has to conform in order to succeed in this company.
to be or become similar in form, nature, or character.
to be in harmony or accord.
to comply with the usages of an established church, especially the Church of England.
verb (used with object)
to make similar in form, nature, or character.
to bring into agreement, correspondence, or harmony.
Archaic. conformable.
Origin of conform
1275-1325; Middle English confo(u)rmen < Anglo-French, Middle French conformer < Latin confōrmāre to shape. See con-, form
Related forms
conformer, noun
conformingly, adverb
nonconforming, adjective
preconform, verb
quasi-conforming, adjective
reconform, verb
unconformed, adjective
unconforming, adjective
1. yield, agree, consent. 3. correspond, agree, tally. 7. adapt, adjust, accommodate.
1, 5. dissent. 3. differ. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nonconforming
Historical Examples
  • The conforming and nonconforming priests were disputing the altars.

    History of the Girondists, Volume I Alphonse de Lamartine
  • Besides, I am told that she belongs to the nonconforming order of pious people.

    The Man Who Rose Again Joseph Hocking
  • I am as sober as the nonconforming parson of the church that Miss Castlemaine attends.

    The Man Who Rose Again Joseph Hocking
  • The nonconforming vicar of the church appointed a nonconforming preacher to the Episcopal chapel.

  • It is the only case in a nonconforming place we have yet had to notice in which there is a weekly celebration.

    The Church Index William Pepperell
  • Among the nonconforming bodies, the Baptists are by far the most numerous here.

    The Church Index William Pepperell
  • But there stayed behind Puritan and nonconforming minds in the bodies of many parishioners.

  • Then she told us of new crueller devices intended against the Friends, and, indeed, against all nonconforming folks.

    Andrew Golding Annie E. Keeling
  • They will never prefer the interest of their nonconforming party, before the interest of christianity, or the public good.

  • The history of many a nonconforming Church would be the best defence of its existence, and the best evidence of its vitality.

British Dictionary definitions for nonconforming


(intransitive) usually foll by to. to comply in actions, behaviour, etc, with accepted standards or norms
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to be in accordance; fit in: he conforms with my idea of a teacher
to make or become similar in character or form
(intransitive) to comply with the practices of an established church, esp the Church of England
(transitive) to bring (oneself, ideas, etc) into harmony or agreement
Derived Forms
conformer, noun
conformingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French conformer, from Latin confirmāre to establish, strengthen, from firmāre to make firm, from firmusfirm1
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 nonconforming



mid-14c., confourmen, from Old French conformer "conform (to), agree (to), make or be similar, be agreeable" (13c.), from Latin conformare "to fashion, to form, to shape; educate; modify," from com- "together" (see com-) + formare "to form" (see form (v.)).

Sense of "to comply with the usages of the Church of England" is from 1610s; hence conformist (1630s), opposed to non-conformist or dissenter. Related: Conformance; conformed; conforming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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