formation

noun
for·​ma·​tion | \ fȯr-ˈmā-shən \

Definition of formation

1 : an act of giving form or shape to something or of taking form : development
2 : something that is formed new word formations
3 : the manner in which a thing is formed : structure the peculiar formation of the heart
4 : a major kind of plant growth (such as forest, grassland, or tundra) characteristic of a broad ecological region
5a : any igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic rock represented as a unit
b : any sedimentary bed or consecutive series of beds sufficiently homogeneous or distinctive to be a unit
6 : an arrangement of a body or group of persons or things in some prescribed manner or for a particular purpose flying in formation

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Examples of formation in a Sentence

The book explains the formation of the planets. The soldiers were marching in formation. The team ran on the field and lined up in a punt formation.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The columns are a product of a process called jamming, which crams loose objects (like gravel) together in a specific formation that makes them behave like a solid. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Watch a robot build columns out of only gravel and string," 15 Oct. 2018 Male sharks moved up and down the water in what was described as a V-shape, and swam in the formation up to 140 times a day. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "Scientists find great white shark lair in Pacific Ocean: report," 18 Sep. 2018 Even more troubling, the biological mothers had been chosen for their histories of mental illness, so that Neubauer might gauge to what degree environment figured in the children's mental health and identity formation. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Triplets ripped from family in a Nazi-like experiment, probed in Three Identical Strangers," 5 July 2018 Inspired by ancient dolmens like Stonehenge, the memorial of boulders sits in a circular formation within Greenwich Village’s Hudson River Park, across from the piers that were known havens for the LGBTQ community in the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s. Cristela Guerra, BostonGlobe.com, "Hyde Park art studio helps new NYC memorial reflect light and pride," 26 June 2018 Researchers are hoping this technique, applied to other disks, will reveal more planets in formation and help us understand how gravity molds primordial clouds into planetary systems, including our own. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "This distant disk may contain the youngest exoplanets ever detected," 14 June 2018 In addition to being a wide receiver, defensive back, and kick returner, Henley was sometimes used at quarterback in a Wildcat formation. Mike Owens, Philly.com, "Big 33 Football Classic: Eight local players will suit up for Pa.," 14 June 2018 On January 1, the New Horizons spacecraft, the one famous for flying by Pluto, will pass by Ultima Thule to explore this strange rock and try to learn more about the very formation of our solar system. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The New Horizons spacecraft is about to explore the farthest object ever: Ultima Thule," 24 Dec. 2018 One possibility was the formation of metal filaments between the electrodes. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers make RAM from a phase change we don’t entirely understand," 18 Dec. 2018

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

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First Known Use of formation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near formation

formas

format

formate

formation

formational

formation rule

formative

Statistics for formation

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for formation

The first known use of formation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for formation

formation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of formation

: the act of forming or creating something
: something that is formed or created
: an orderly arrangement or group of people, ships, or airplanes

formation

noun
for·​ma·​tion | \ fȯr-ˈmā-shən \

Kids Definition of formation

1 : a creation or development of something the formation of good habits
2 : something that is formed or created a cloud formation
3 : an arrangement of something battle formation punt formation

formation

noun
for·​ma·​tion | \ fȯr-ˈmā-shən \

Medical Definition of formation

1 : an act of giving form or shape to something or of taking form : development
2 : the manner in which a thing is formed : structure

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Comments on formation

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