Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
Behavior or actions that are considered socially inappropriate, distasteful, or rude. Many people still consider it bad form to ask a woman her age.
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.
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!
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.
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!
the glass of fashion and the mold of form
A much-admired person. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia refers to Hamlet as such. Look at that socialite—she is just the glass of fashion and the mold of form.
in any way, shape, or form
In any way, style, or manner at all. I've been doing this job for 30 years, so I know I'm the most qualified candidate in any way, shape, or form! I will not tolerate rudeness in any way, shape, or form.
in any shape or form
In any way, style, or manner at all. I've been doing this job for 30 years, so I know I'm the most qualified candidate in any shape or form! I will not tolerate rudeness in any shape or form.
sarcasm is the lowest form of wit
It is easy to be sarcastic, and not as clever as other means of making a joke. The phrase implies that one thinks sarcasm is crass or irritating. The snarky comments are getting old, Kyle. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, you know.
true to form
In the expected manner or way. Susie's attendance has always been pretty erratic and, true to form, she didn't come to today's meeting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
in any way, shape, or form
Fig. in any manner. I refuse to tell a lie in any way, shape, or 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
When people say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they mean that if someone copies you, it must be because they admire you. Gregory Campbell went into West Belfast last week, I was there years ago. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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.
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.