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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 doctor's weren't too worried about her illness, but as a matter of form they decided to keep her in the hospital over night.
See also: form, matter, of

in bad form

1. Acting or behaving in a way that is considered socially inappropriate, distasteful, rude, or generally unpleasant. I'm sorry I was in such bad form last night, I hadn't gotten very much sleep from the night before.
2. In a bad condition or state, especially as relates to sports or athletics. Their goalkeeper is in bad form tonight. I think she is still recovering from that broken ankle.
See also: bad, form

bad form

Behavior or actions that are considered socially inappropriate, distasteful, or rude. Many people still consider it bad form to ask a woman her age.
See also: bad, form

poor form

Behavior or actions that are considered socially inappropriate, distasteful, or rude. It is generally acknowledged that pointing out a person's flaws in public is quite poor form.
See also: form, poor

in no way, shape, or form

In no possible manner; under no circumstances; not by any means. In no way, shape, or form is this kind of behavior acceptable!
See also: form

return to form

1. noun A restoration to a previously established standard of excellence or brilliance. This latest film marks a welcome return to form for the beloved filmmaker, whose more recent films have fallen well below the expectations of critics and fans alike.
2. verb To return to a previously established standard or state of excellence or brilliance. The president definitely returned to form in the debate last night, much to the joy (and relief) of her supporters.
See also: form, return

attack is the best form of defense

Launching an offensive is the best way to protect oneself. I need to start some rumors about Dean, before he comes after me. I know it sounds harsh, but attack is the best form of defense!
See also: attack, defense, form, of

form an opinion

to think up or decide on an opinion. (Note the variations in the examples.) I don't know enough about the issue to form an opinion. Don't tell me how to think! I can form my own opinion. I don't form opinions without careful consideration.
See also: form, opinion

form and substance

structure and meaningful content. The first act of the play was one screaming match after another. It lacked form and substance throughout. Jane's report was good. The teacher commented on the excellent form and substance of the paper.
See also: and, form, substance

form from something

[for something] to develop from something; [for something] to assume a shape, using something else as raw material. Suddenly, an idea began to form from the things that you had said. It seemed that a figure was forming from the mists arising from the swamps.
See also: form

form someone or something into something

to shape someone or something into something. We formed the people into a line. Kathy formed the clay into a small elephant.
See also: form

form something out of something

to shape something from something. He formed a tiny elephant out of the clay. Wally formed a mound out of the sand.
See also: form, of, out

form (up) into something

[for a group of people] to assume the shape of something. The boys formed up into a jagged line. We'll form into a line.
See also: form

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Prov. Copying someone is flattering because it shows you want to be like that person. Child: Susie's doing everything I do. Make her stop. Mother: Don't be cross with her. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but I don't feel flattered when Mary copies my answers to the homework.
See also: flattery, form, of

in any way, shape, or form

Fig. in any manner. I refuse to tell a lie in any way, shape, or form!
See also: any, form

in rare form

1. Fig. well prepared for a good performance; at one's best. The goalie is in rare form today; that's his third great save already. We are not exactly in rare form on Monday mornings.
2. Inf. intoxicated. Gert is in rare form, but she'll have time to sleep it off. When Harry was finally in rare form, he slid beneath the table.
See also: form, rare

in top form

1. [of someone or some creature] in very good physical condition. The runners are in top form, so this should be a good race. I'm not in top form, but I'm not completely out of shape either.
2. able to make witty remarks and clever statements quickly and easily. That was really funny, Bob. You are in top form tonight. The president was in top form and entertained the audience with her speech.
See also: form, top

true to form

exactly as expected; following the usual pattern. (Often with running, as in the example.) As usual, John is late. At least he's running true to form. And true to form, Mary left before the meeting was adjourned.
See also: form, true

true to form

as can be expected True to form, he tried to get out of helping wash the dishes.
See also: form, true

in any way, shape, or form

in any possible manner or under any conditions Neither Bill nor Ann is prepared for this in any way, shape, or form.
Usage notes: often used in the form not in any way, shape, or form: The new principal said that she would not in any way, shape, or form tell teachers how to teach their subjects.
See also: any, form

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

something that you say which means that using sarcasm (= saying the opposite of what you mean to make a joke) is unpleasant and is not a very clever thing to do 'We're so grateful to you for arriving only 20 minutes late!' 'Oh really, Matthew, don't you know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit?'
See also: form, low, of, wit

in any shape or form

of any type I'm opposed to war in any shape or form.
See also: any, form, shape

true to form/type

if someone does something true to form, they behave in the bad way that you would expect them to True to form, she turned up an hour later than we'd arranged.
See show in true colours
See also: form, true

(in) any way, shape, or form

in any way at all (often negative) I have never been involved in any way, shape, or form with criminal activities.
See also: any, form

form an opinion

Make up one's mind or decide what one thinks about something. For example, I need more facts before I can form an opinion about this issue, or Don't tell me your views; I want to form my own opinion.
See also: form, opinion

run to form

Also, run true to form. Act as one expects, especially in keeping with previous behavior. For example, She ran to form, arriving an hour late, or The door-to-door campaign was running true to form, with solicitors always arriving at dinnertime . This term originally was used for race horses running as expected from their previous record; it was transferred to human behavior in the late 1800s.
See also: form, run

form up

1. To come together into an organized shape or formation: At the sergeant's command, the troops formed up into a single line. Our plans formed up quickly after we reviewed the possibilities.
2. To cause something to be created by arranging or organizing: We formed up several teams of players. The marines formed the captives up into two columns and marched them forward.
See also: form, up

in rare form

1. mod. well-tuned for a good performance; at one’s best. We are not exactly in rare form on Monday mornings.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. Gert is in rare form, but she’ll have time to sleep it off.
See also: form, rare
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