for·​mal·​ize | \ ˈfȯr-mə-ˌlīz \
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 \ adjective
formalization \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən \ noun
formalizer \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​ˌlī-​zər \ 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

Even more unusually, Mr. Orcel resigned from UBS without formalizing how much Santander would pay him, people familiar with his departure from the Swiss bank said. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Santander Cancels Andrea Orcel’s Appointment as CEO Over Compensation," 15 Jan. 2019 Once the science became more formalized, then there came this tension [about] who has a right to collect these things. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "A dinosaur obsession leads to stolen fossils and prison time in this new book," 15 Oct. 2018 The existing commercial marijuana businesses say the bill will formalize a second marijuana market that will put them out of business. Sam Wood,, "He gave a $125k gift to Jefferson, expecting it would help get a marijuana growing license. Was it pay-to-play?," 22 June 2018 There is evidence to suggest that existing licensing and registration procedures are deterring some owners from formalizing their business. Allison Spencer Hartnett, Washington Post, "Can Jordan’s new prime minister reform the government?," 13 June 2018 On Tuesday—the deadline for the deal—Takeda formalized its offer. David Meyer, Fortune, "Takeda Finally Inks a Deal to Buy Shire in One of the Biggest Pharma Takeovers Ever," 8 May 2018 Simons, Slimane, and Lang, were news-makers in 2015, 2016, and 2017 for hirings, firings, and enormous archive sales, which increased attention to their archival work at the same moment that Casavant was formalizing his collection. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "David Casavant Is More Than Just an Archivist—Peek Inside His Debut Book," 31 Oct. 2018 After announcing last week that she would be granted a top-secret security clearance and given an office in the West Wing, President Trump formalized his daughter's role in the administration. Erica Pishdadian, Marie Claire, "Ivanka Trump Is Now the "Assistant to the President"," 30 Mar. 2017 The members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an informal dialogue initiated in 2007 by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe among the U.S., Japan, Australia and India, should also be formalized and meet more regularly. Paula J. Dobriansky, WSJ, "India Can Become a Key U.S. Partner," 20 Aug. 2018

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

Statistics for formalize

Last Updated

1 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for formalize

The first known use of formalize was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for formalize



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).


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!