a matter of form

a matter of form

That which is done for the sake of procedure, formality, appearances, or the accepted norm, often implying a lack of usefulness or necessity. I know we already covered the chapter on social economics last week, but as a matter of form, let's review its key points before beginning today's lecture. The doctors weren't too worried about her illness, but as a matter of form they decided to keep her in the hospital overnight.
See also: form, matter, of
References in classic literature ?
Is it necessary for me to remind you, I wonder," she said, "that it is usual to address a few remarks - quite as a matter of form, you know - to the woman whom you bring in to dinner?
He won't listen to politics; women, or tales about them, at any rate, seem to bore him to extinction; he drinks only as a matter of form, and he won't talk finance.
The majority of dairymen have a cross manner at milking time, but it happened that Mr Crick was glad to get a new hand--for the days were busy ones now--and he received her warmly; inquiring for her mother and the rest of the family--(though this as a matter of form merely, for in reality he had not been aware of Mrs Durbeyfield's existence till apprised of the fact by a brief business-letter about Tess).
And it was not a contest of politeness, or by any means a matter of form, for she knew very well that her husband wished to enter the house in this order, that he might have a favourable opportunity of inflicting a few pinches on her arms, which were seldom free from impressions of his fingers in black and blue colours.
One word, Rodion Romanovitch; as to all the rest, it's in God's hands, but as a matter of form there are some questions I shall have to ask you .
All goes well, time works on, and at this next Christmas-time it will become necessary, as a matter of form, to give the exemplary lady in the corner window, to whom we are so much indebted, business notice of your departure in the ensuing half-year.
he would beg leave to go through that little incidental procedure, as a matter of form.
The only question is, whether the gentleman, being on the ground, must not be considered, as a matter of form, to be the individual who insulted our friend, Doctor Slammer, yesterday evening, whether he is really that individual or not;' and having delivered this suggestion, with a very sage and mysterious air, the man with the camp-stool took a large pinch of snuff, and looked profoundly round, with the air of an authority in such matters.
That although it was little else than a matter of form, I presumed I should have an opportunity of trying how I liked it, before I bound myself to it irrevocably.
But, sir, whatever your views may be, will you not, as a matter of form, in deference to the feelings of the family--"
Excuse my asking the question -- it is only a matter of form.