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

Like Max Mara’s classic coats, the BAI (Biblioteca e Archivio di Impresa), as this sartorial Louvre is officially called, is understated but formidable. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Beyond Nancy Pelosi's Power Coat: Inside Max Mara's Fashion Museum," 29 Jan. 2019 Buckner and Solomon Thomas make the Niners’ nickel pass rush potentially formidable inside, but if Arik Armstead does not emerge outside, this D has little chance of constricting the pocket. Andy Benoit,, "Jimmy Garoppolo Takes Charge, Richard Sherman Steps In: 10 Thoughts on the 49ers," 18 June 2018 Getting too crazy and too far left because Orange County there has really been surging, and the poll numbers that are coming in there are quite considerable and formidable. Fox News, "Trump: NFL owners did the right thing," 25 May 2018 But Death Stars are everywhere now—from Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens to the airborne planet in Avengers: Age of Ultron—turning a once-formidable menace into a lazy stakes-inflation device. Brian Raftery, WIRED, "Solo May Be Inessential, But It's Also Utterly Delightful," 23 May 2018 Arrieta could be counted on to play bad cop when needed in the media, and along with Lackey and Ross formed a salty and formidable trio. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Cubs-Indians: Five stark differences since their 2016 World Series showdown," 22 May 2018 But experience trumped youth, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6, and Isner is now in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, the lone American male left in the draw. • Ernests Gulbis—once a formidable player—qualified just to get into the main draw. Jon Wertheim,, "Manic Monday at Wimbledon: Recapping All 16 Matches From the Best Day in Tennis," 9 July 2018 Susman, a formidable tennis player in his own right, is a member of the Trinity University squad and met Karen while both were making the eastern circuit in 1959., "July 8, 1962: Susman triumphs at Wimbledon," 8 July 2018 His constant energy is his best strength, and what makes him a formidable post player at 6-foot-4. Bill Landis,, "Ohio State basketball: Jae'Sean Tate has given Buckeyes everything, and getting the senior season he deserved," 20 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for formidable

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

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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 a parable or parabola

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