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
Writing in the early 20th century, Hughes avoided an intellectualized modernism or a distanced formalism for verse that was steeped in the lives of ordinary men and women.
As a choreographer, José Limón was full of emotion: Sterile formalism was never his thing.
Call it post-zombie or born-again formalism: this young artist’s paintings remind us of abstraction’s reason for being.
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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