Regulate vs Conform - What's the difference?

regulate | conform |

As verbs the difference between regulate and conform

is that regulate is to dictate policy while conform is (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.




  • To dictate policy.
  • To control or direct according to rule, principle, or law.
  • * Macaulay
  • the laws which regulate the successions of the seasons
  • * Bancroft
  • The herdsmen near the frontier adjudicated their own disputes, and regulated their own police.
  • To adjust to a particular specification or requirement: regulate temperature.
  • To adjust (a mechanism) for accurate and proper functioning.
  • to regulate a watch, i.e. adjust its rate of running so that it will keep approximately standard time
    to regulate the temperature of a room, the pressure of steam, the speed of a machine, etc.
  • To put or maintain in order.
  • to regulate the disordered state of a nation or its finances
    to regulate one's eating habits

    Derived terms

    * deregulate * downregulate * upregulate




    (en verb)
  • (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.
  • * 1822 , , Peveril of the Peak , ch. 1:
  • [H]e had a dispensation for conforming in outward observances to the Protestant faith.
  • * 1839 , , The Voyage of the Beagle , ch. 4:
  • [B]y conforming to the dress and habits of the Gauchos, he has obtained an unbounded popularity in the country.
  • To be in accordance with a set of specifications or regulations, or with a policy or guideline.
  • * 1919 , , 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.
  • To make similar in form or nature; to make suitable for a purpose; to adapt.
  • * , "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 , , Nature , ch. 6:
  • The sensual man conforms' thoughts to things; the poet ' conforms things to his thoughts.


    * (act in accordance with expectations) acquiesce, comply, go along to get along, knuckle under, submit