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From Middle English conformen, from Old French conformer, from Latin conformāre (to mould, to shape after)



conform (third-person singular simple present conforms, present participle conforming, simple past and past participle conformed)

  1. (intransitive, of persons, often followed by to) To act in accordance with expectations; to behave in the manner of others, especially as a result of social pressure.
  2. (intransitive, of things, situations, etc.) To be in accordance with a set of specifications or regulations, or with a policy or guideline.
    • 1919, Hildegard G. Frey, The Camp Fire Girls Do Their Bit, ch. 11:
      In height and breadth it conformed to the prescribed measurements laid down by the rules of the contest.
    • 2006 22 Dec., "Judge Cuts Amount of Vioxx Award ," New York Times (retrieved 7 June 2011):
      A judge in a Texas widow’s lawsuit over the Merck drug Vioxx reduced a $32 million jury award to about $7.75 million on Thursday so that it conformed to state law.
  3. (transitive) To make similar in form or nature; to make suitable for a purpose; to adapt.
    • c. 1710, Jonathan Swift, "Vanbrugh's House" in The Poems of Jonathan Swift (1910 edition):
      There is a worm by Phoebus bred,
      By leaves of mulberry is fed,
      Which unprovided where to dwell,
      Conforms itself to weave a cell.
    • 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, ch. 6:
      The sensual man conforms thoughts to things; the poet conforms things to his thoughts.


Related terms[edit]


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conform (+dative)

  1. according to