[ fawr-mat ]
/ ˈfɔr mæt /
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See synonyms for: format / formats / formatting on Thesaurus.com


verb (used with object), for·mat·ted, for·mat·ting.

to plan or provide a format for: to format the annual telethon.
  1. to set the format of (input or output): Some word-processing programs format output in a variety of ways.
  2. to prepare (a disk) for writing and reading.

verb (used without object), for·mat·ted, for·mat·ting.

to devise a format.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of format

1830–40; <French <Latin (liber) fōrmātus (a book) formed (in a certain way)
for·mat·ter, nounpre·for·mat, verb (used with object), pre·for·mat·ted, pre·for·mat·ting.re·for·mat, verb, re·for·mat·ted, re·for·mat·ting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for format

/ (ˈfɔːmæt) /


the general appearance of a publication, including type style, paper, binding, etc
an approximate indication of the size of a publication as determined by the number of times the original sheet of paper is folded to make a leafSee also duodecimo, quarto
style, plan, or arrangement, as of a television programme
  1. the defined arrangement of data encoded in a file or for example on magnetic disk or CD-ROM, essential for the correct recording and recovery of data on different devices
  2. the arrangement of text on printed output or a display screen, or a coded description of such an arrangement

verb -mats, -matting or -matted (tr)

to arrange (a book, page, etc) into a specified format
C19: via French from German, from Latin liber formātus volume formed
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

Scientific definitions for format

[ fôrmăt′ ]


The arrangement of data for storage or display.


To divide a disk into marked sectors so that it may store data.
To determine the arrangement of data for storage or display.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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