Definition of formalism
1 : the practice or the doctrine of strict adherence to prescribed or external forms (as in religion or art); also : an instance of this
2 : marked attention to arrangement, style, or artistic means (as in art or literature) usually with corresponding de-emphasis of content
formalistplay \ˈfȯr-mə-list\ noun or adjective
formalisticplay \ˌfȯr-mə-ˈli-stik\ adjective
Recent Examples of formalism from the Web
This state-government building combines the formalism of Le Corbusier’s earlier Purist designs with a generous hint of the muscular, sculptural forms that appeared later.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formalism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of formalism
FORMALISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of formalism for English Language Learners
: a method, style, way of thinking, etc., that shows very careful attention to traditional forms and rules
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