formation

noun

for·​ma·​tion fȯr-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce formation (audio)
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
5
a
: 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web This endeavor will yield 60 petabytes of data on the composition of the universe, the nature and distribution of dark matter, dark energy and the expansion of the universe, the formation of our galaxy, our intimate little solar system, and more. Isaac Schultz / Gizmodo, Quartz, 3 Apr. 2024 The coastline is known to be breathtaking, surrounded by rock formations and mountains. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2024 The delay in the council’s formation and the persistent doubts about its viability are slowing down other initiatives. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024 Weather conditions will favor the formation of supercells — large thunderstorms with deep and persistent rotating updrafts that look like tall storm clouds with anvils or elongated clouds at the top. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 1 Apr. 2024 Exploring the relationship between the three systems—the barcodes, the place cells and the seed codes—might offer even more valuable clues about the mysterious underpinnings of memory formation. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2024 With under three months to go before kickoff against Albania, Italy’s first group match in Dortmund, fans, pundits and players are unsure of Spalletti's preferred formation. David Ferrini, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Butterfly stretch Lie on your back and place the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall out in a butterfly formation. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 28 Mar. 2024 The formation of the contract is negotiating the contract terms. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'formation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near formation

Cite this Entry

“Formation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/formation. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

formation

noun
for·​ma·​tion fȯr-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce formation (audio)
1
: a forming of something
2
: something formed
3
: the manner in which a thing is formed : structure, shape
4
: a bed of rocks or series of beds recognizable as a unit
5
: an arrangement or grouping of persons, ships, or airplanes

Medical Definition

formation

noun
for·​ma·​tion fȯr-ˈmā-shən How to pronounce formation (audio)
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

More from Merriam-Webster on formation

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