for·​mi·​da·​ble | \ ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl How to pronounce formidable (audio) ; fȯr-ˈmi-, fər-ˈmi- How to pronounce formidable (audio) \

Definition of formidable

1 : causing fear, dread, or apprehension a formidable prospect
2 : having qualities that discourage approach or attack a formidable opponent
3 : tending to inspire awe or wonder : impressive a formidable accomplishment

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Other Words from formidable

formidability \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce formidability (audio) ; fȯr-​ˌmi-​ , fər-​ˌmi-​ \ noun
formidableness \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​də-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce formidableness (audio) ; fȯr-​ˈmi-​ , fər-​ˈmi-​ \ noun
formidably \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​də-​blē How to pronounce formidably (audio) ; fȯr-​ˈmi-​ , fər-​ˈmi-​ \ adverb

Examples of formidable in a Sentence

She was known throughout Manchester as a formidable woman, and being educated had only piled more formidability on top of what she had been born with. — Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003 The technology was formidable: using two and a half million rivets, 300 steeplejacks working flat out would run it up in the space of two years … — Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, 2002 Alta is reached by a hairpin road that climbs steadily upward—a ride of thirty minutes or so, depending on road and weather conditions—through some of the most formidable mountain scenery in the country. — Cynthia Zarin, New Yorker, 23 Mar. 1992 The mountains were a formidable barrier. He has mastered a formidable amount of material.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In front of the restaurant, men and women in military fatigues, some with helmets, others dressed more provisionally, hurry past, bearing a formidable arsenal of weapons and communications gear. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "What perpetual war looks like in America," 4 Aug. 2019 Running an agency as large and complex as the CIA was a formidable job in its own right; combining it with cross-government information assessment and being the president’s chief intelligence analyst was somewhere between unwieldy and impossible. The Economist, "Donald Trump wants a loyalist as America’s top intelligence official," 3 Aug. 2019 While the Dallas backline has been a formidable threat throughout the season, the team has succeeded in grinding out low-scoring games for 0-0 draws and 1-0 victories. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City hungry for win during home match against FC Dallas," 3 Aug. 2019 Bryant and tailback Larry Rountree, coming off a 1,216-yard, 11-touchdown season, will form a formidable backfield. Edgar Thompson,, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 23 Missouri poised for nice season despite NCAA sanctions," 3 Aug. 2019 Having Rand and Loudermilk healthy could help UW field a formidable front. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW defensive end Matt Henningsen has transitioned from unknown walk-on to veteran teacher," 2 Aug. 2019 Hobbs introduces his daughter (Eliana Sua) to her formidable grandmother (Lori Pelenise Tuisano) and her many uncles in his homeland of Samoa. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "What the Hobbs & Shaw Post-Credits Scenes Mean for the Fast & Furious Franchise," 2 Aug. 2019 Seeking an unprecedented third term as war raged in Europe and Asia, Roosevelt, a Democrat, faced a formidable opponent in businessman Wendell Willkie. John M. Murphy, The Conversation, "The rhetorical trick Trump used on the ‘Squad’ and how it could affect the vote," 30 July 2019 With 2018’s Outside, Burna established himself as a formidable musical peer, collaborating with artists such as J Hus and Lily Allen. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Musician Pushing the Boundaries of African Pop," 26 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formidable.' 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 formidable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for formidable

Middle English, from Latin formidabilis, from formidare to fear, from formido terror, bogey; akin to Greek mormō bogey

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Statistics for formidable

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for formidable

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

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More Definitions for formidable



English Language Learners Definition of formidable

: very powerful or strong : deserving serious attention and respect
: very difficult to deal with
: large or impressive in size or amount


for·​mi·​da·​ble | \ ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl How to pronounce formidable (audio) \

Kids Definition of formidable

1 : causing fear or awe a formidable enemy
2 : offering serious difficulties a formidable task
3 : large or impressive in size or extent a formidable waterfall

Other Words from formidable

formidably adverb

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Comments on formidable

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


of or relating to the heavens

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