pro forma

[proh fawr-muh]


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.

Also pro·for·ma (for defs 2, 3, 5).

Origin of pro forma

First recorded in 1565–75, pro forma is from the Latin word prō fōrma Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for proformas

pro forma


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

Word Origin and History for proformas

pro forma

also proforma, Latin, literally "for form's sake, by way of formality;" see pro- + form (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

proformas in Culture

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.