pro forma

[ proh -fawr-muh ]
/ proʊ ˈfɔr mə /


according to form; as a matter of form; for the sake of form.
Commerce. provided in advance of shipment and merely showing the description and quantity of goods shipped without terms of payment: a pro forma invoice.
Accounting. indicating hypothetical financial figures based on previous business operations for estimate purposes: a pro forma balance sheet.


as a matter of form: Many of the school assignments appear to be done pro forma.

noun plural pro for·ma, pro for·mas.

a pro forma document.



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Also pro·for·ma (for defs. 2, 3, 5) .

Origin of pro forma

First recorded in 1565–75; from Latin prō formā Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for pro forma

pro forma
/ (ˈprəʊ ˈfɔːmə) /


prescribing a set form or procedure


performed in a set manner

Word Origin for pro forma

Latin: for form's sake
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

Cultural definitions for pro forma

pro forma
[ (proh fawr-muh) ]

Doing something pro forma means satisfying only the minimum requirements of a task and doing it in a perfunctory way: “Her welcoming address was strictly pro forma: you could tell that her mind was a million miles away.” From Latin, meaning “by form.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.