for·mi·da·ble | \ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl; fȯr-ˈmi-, fər-ˈmi- \

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; fȯr-ˌmi-, fər-ˌmi- \ noun
formidableness \ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl-nəs; fȯr-ˈmi-, fər-ˈmi- \ noun
formidably \ˈfȯr-mə-də-blē; 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

That Vladimir Putin has got to be looking at that across the border and saying that's formidable. Fox News, "UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on NATO, Russia and Brexit," 13 July 2018 Twelve years stranded on an island after being overthrown in a coup that was led by his brother, Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has been brooding over his grievances while developing his formidable occult powers. Charles Mcnulty,, "'The Tempest' at the Old Globe: Kate Burton casts a benevolent spell as Prospera," 26 June 2018 Consolidating its control over the South China Sea, undertaking large-scale projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, and growing increasingly vocal in its rejection of Western ideology, China is an increasingly formidable long-term competitor. Ali Wyne, The New Republic, "Is America Choosing Decline?," 21 June 2018 The first, and most obvious, is that for many tech C.E.O.s, Facebook represents a formidable competitor. Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "How Silicon Valley’s Petty Feud with Mark Zuckerberg Could Backfire," 5 June 2018 The Srivijaya empire, a formidable maritime power based on Sumatra, was in decline, and other coastal powers in the region were vying for its former supremacy. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "An 800-year-old label may rewrite the history of a Java Sea shipwreck," 16 May 2018 Because Amazon, its most formidable competitor in the general retail space, is tackling the fashion space from every angle. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Walmart Wants to Sell You Fashion," 1 Mar. 2018 Much of Amazon’s genius lay in squeezing the supply chain — cutting out middlemen and using the company’s formidable marketing power to force vendors to lower prices. Robert Graboyes, National Review, "Seven Suggestions for the Amazon-Berkshire-JP Morgan Health Project," 13 Feb. 2018 Last year in Toronto, Casey shaped a young group of players with similar expectations into a formidable and cohesive second unit, arguably the best in the league. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons show life and an identity with 2018 NBA draft picks," 22 June 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

17 Oct 2018

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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 \

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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