adjective \ˈfr-məl\

Definition of FORMAL

a :  belonging to or constituting the form or essence of a thing <formal cause>
b :  relating to or involving the outward form, structure, relationships, or arrangement of elements rather than content <formal logic> <a formal style of painting> <a formal approach to comparative linguistics>
a :  following or according with established form, custom, or rule <lacked formal schooling> <a formal dinner party> <formal attire>
b :  done in due or lawful form <a formal contract> <received formal recognition>
a :  characterized by punctilious respect for form :  methodical <very formal in all his dealings>
b :  rigidly ceremonious :  prim
:  having the appearance without the substance <formal Christians who go to church only at Easter>
for·mal·ly \-mə-lē\ adverb
for·mal·ness noun

Origin of FORMAL

Middle English, from Latin formalis, from forma
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with FORMAL



: a social gathering (such as a dance) that requires formal dress and manners : a formal event

Full Definition of FORMAL

:  something (as a dance or a dress) formal in character

Examples of FORMAL

  1. <he asked her to the formal at the end of the year>

First Known Use of FORMAL


Other Clothing Terms

babushka, brogue, bumbershoot, cravat, dishabille, furbelow, layette, raiment, spectator



Definition of FORMAL

:  3molar

Origin of FORMAL

formula + 1-al
First Known Use: circa 1934

Other Chemical Engineering Terms

alkali, cation, decant, hygroscopic, isotope, oxidize, slurry, solute, viscous


Next Word in the Dictionary: formal cause
Previous Word in the Dictionary: formagen
All Words Near: formal

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up formal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More