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

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 Griffin, despite a loss of athleticism — he's dunked once in eight games — is still a formidable player and is slowly figuring out how to play with his new teammates. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons fending off irrelevancy as Blake Griffin-trade hype fizzles," 15 Feb. 2018 Dallas' defense is formidable, but the Seahawks will do just enough to win the game. The Seattle Times, "Pick 'Em," 28 Oct. 2018 But the math is daunting, and the obstacles are formidable. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Stock market shrugs off Trump's trade war," 10 July 2018 But the math is daunting, and the obstacles are formidable. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "China’s Taste for Soybeans Is a Weak Spot in the Trade War With Trump," 9 July 2018 This will be a formidable challenge for an improved Seattle offensive line that has surrendered 42 sacks this season, ranking 22nd in the NFL. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs," 17 Dec. 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

7 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 \

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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