for·​mal·​ize | \ ˈfȯr-mə-ˌlīz How to pronounce formalize (audio) \
formalized; formalizing

Definition of formalize

transitive verb

1 : to give a certain or definite form to : shape
2a : to make formal
b : to give formal status or approval to

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from formalize

formalizable \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​ˌlī-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce formalizable (audio) \ adjective
formalization \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce formalization (audio) \ noun
formalizer \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​ˌlī-​zər How to pronounce formalizer (audio) \ noun

Examples of formalize in a Sentence

The company has formalized its hiring practices. Congress formalized the policy by making it law.
Recent Examples on the Web Chinese security forces already operate secretively in Hong Kong, but the new law would expand and formalize their presence. Chris Buckley,, "Security law to tighten Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong," 20 June 2020 Since 2001, Congress has tried and failed to pass a bill, which a clear majority of American voters support, to formalize the legal status of Dreamers. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "What the Supreme Court’s Surprise Decision on DACA Means for Hundreds of Thousands of Dreamers," 18 June 2020 On Wednesday, Taylor said the department is working to formalize a policy that outlines when and how officers involved in critical incidents should be identified to the public. Crystal Hill, The Indianapolis Star, "IMPD identifies officer who shot Dreasjon Reed; prosecutor wants 'independent' probe," 10 June 2020 On Friday, Broadnax announced the Dallas department would formalize the ban on chokeholds in its general orders. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Dallas Police Department announces new policies after seven days of protests," 5 June 2020 The proposal still needs to be formalized by the European Commission, and not all 27 member states are on board yet. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The EU is still divided over coronavirus relief. That could tear it apart," 26 May 2020 The exact terms of Gantz’s deal with Netanyahu have yet to be formalized. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Coalition Out of Crisis: Why Gantz Threw in with Netanyahu," 27 Mar. 2020 While outreach to religious voters has come naturally to many in the Republican Party with many of its leaders like Vice President Pence open about faith, the Democrats have struggled to formalize outreach outside of appearances in black churches. Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post, "Hillary Clinton says she should have fired faith outreach adviser accused of sexual harassment," 30 Jan. 2018 The members of New York’s reform coalition managed to avoid some of California’s pitfalls—but the New York law that finally emerged formalized some troubling compromises of its own. Nick Pinto, The New Republic, "Criminal justice reformers are rethinking the crusade against cash bail.," 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of formalize

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about formalize

Time Traveler for formalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of formalize was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Statistics for formalize

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Formalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for formalize


How to pronounce formalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of formalize

: to make (something) formal : to give proper or official form to (something)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on formalize

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!