Dictionary

1formal

adjective for·mal \ˈfr-məl\

Definition of FORMAL

1
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>
2
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>
3
a :  characterized by punctilious respect for form :  methodical <very formal in all his dealings>
b :  rigidly ceremonious :  prim
4
:  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
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Origin of FORMAL

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

Synonym Discussion of FORMAL

ceremonial, ceremonious, formal, conventional mean marked by attention to or adhering strictly to prescribed forms. ceremonial and ceremonious both imply strict attention to what is prescribed by custom or by ritual, but ceremonial applies to things that are associated with ceremonies <a ceremonial offering>, ceremonious to persons given to ceremony or to acts attended by ceremony <made his ceremonious entrance>. formal applies both to things prescribed by and to persons obedient to custom and may suggest stiff, restrained, or old-fashioned behavior <a formal report> <the headmaster's formal manner>. conventional implies accord with general custom and usage <conventional courtesy> and may suggest a stodgy lack of originality or independence <conventional fiction>.

Rhymes with FORMAL

2formal

noun

: 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

1605

Other Clothing Terms

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

3formal

adjective

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
FORMALNESS Defined for Kids

1formal

adjective for·mal \ˈfr-məl\

Definition of FORMAL for Kids

1
:  following established form, custom, or rule <She wrote a formal apology.>
2
:  acquired by attending classes in a school <a formal education>
3
:  requiring proper clothing and manners <a formal dance>
4
:  suitable for a proper occasion <formal attire>
for·mal·ly adverb

Word Root of FORMAL

The Latin word forma, meaning form or shape, gives us the root form. Words from the Latin forma have something to do with shape. The form of a person or thing is its shape. To conform is to fit in with others in form, shape, or manner. Something formal, such as dinner, follows a specific custom or form. The format of something, such as a book, is its general shape and arrangement.

2formal

noun

Definition of FORMAL for Kids

:  a social gathering that requires proper clothing and behavior

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