formidable

adjective
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

Cameron Wake led the pass-rush charge for Tennessee against Cleveland’s porous offensive line, but the Colts should be a more formidable opponent. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 13 things to watch in Colts vs. Titans game," 14 Sep. 2019 Perhaps a more formidable USA squad could attack Gobert and the French defense, especially one armed with either elite isolation scorers (hello, James Harden) or athletic marvels like Anthony Davis. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Team USA’s Backup Squad Finally Falls in FIBA World Cup," 11 Sep. 2019 Learning the ropes Western scientists working in China must navigate the country’s formidable—and opaque—research bureaucracy without knowing the rules of the game and without the language skills to learn them on their own. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "When Europeans do science in China," 11 Sep. 2019 While the movie opens with Harlan's housekeeper (Edi Patterson) finding him dead, recaps of the previous evening's birthday celebration from multiple viewpoints allow the ever-formidable Plummer to show what a teasing old rogue the author was. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Knives Out': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 Dates against three more formidable defenses (Colts, Jags, Falcons) follow. 46. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "2019 NFL season: 100 names to know as Week 1 kicks off," 8 Sep. 2019 And the Tar Heels, in Mack Brown’s first season back since 1997, appear much more formidable than recent campaigns. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Miami Hurricanes begin ACC play with something to prove in pivotal early matchup at North Carolina," 6 Sep. 2019 The challenges are still formidable, for the Mustansiriya and Baghdad both. Peter Schwartzstein, Smithsonian, "What the Restoration of Iraq’s Oldest University Says About the Nation’s Future," 4 Sep. 2019 But this year, the Niners’ defense has the potential to be downright respectable — if not formidable — in 2019. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Three reasons why the 49ers will make the playoffs in 2019," 3 Sep. 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

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for formidable

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

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More Definitions for formidable

formidable

adjective

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

formidable

adjective
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

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