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[kuh n-fawrm] /kənˈfɔrm/
verb (used without object)
to act in accordance or harmony; comply (usually followed by to):
to conform to rules.
to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc., of society or a group:
One has to conform in order to succeed in this company.
to be or become similar in form, nature, or character.
to be in harmony or accord.
to comply with the usages of an established church, especially the Church of England.
verb (used with object)
to make similar in form, nature, or character.
to bring into agreement, correspondence, or harmony.
Archaic. conformable.
Origin of conform
1275-1325; Middle English confo(u)rmen < Anglo-French, Middle French conformer < Latin confōrmāre to shape. See con-, form
Related forms
conformer, noun
conformingly, adverb
nonconforming, adjective
preconform, verb
quasi-conforming, adjective
reconform, verb
unconformed, adjective
unconforming, adjective
1. yield, agree, consent. 3. correspond, agree, tally. 7. adapt, adjust, accommodate.
1, 5. dissent. 3. differ. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for conform
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Periods added to a few date-lines to conform to rest of text.

  • If you do not conform to society, what has society done for me?

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He should learn what the South Americans want and conform his product to their wants.

  • I will show them the Holy law to which they must conform, even that which they have broken.

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • His men do just well enough to conform to cold requirements.

    Manpower Lincoln Clarke Andrews
British Dictionary definitions for conform


(intransitive) usually foll by to. to comply in actions, behaviour, etc, with accepted standards or norms
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to be in accordance; fit in: he conforms with my idea of a teacher
to make or become similar in character or form
(intransitive) to comply with the practices of an established church, esp the Church of England
(transitive) to bring (oneself, ideas, etc) into harmony or agreement
Derived Forms
conformer, noun
conformingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French conformer, from Latin confirmāre to establish, strengthen, from firmāre to make firm, from firmusfirm1
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
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Word Origin and History for conform

mid-14c., confourmen, from Old French conformer "conform (to), agree (to), make or be similar, be agreeable" (13c.), from Latin conformare "to fashion, to form, to shape; educate; modify," from com- "together" (see com-) + formare "to form" (see form (v.)).

Sense of "to comply with the usages of the Church of England" is from 1610s; hence conformist (1630s), opposed to non-conformist or dissenter. Related: Conformance; conformed; conforming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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