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

By the 1820s, the forces against them were formidable. Martha S. Jones, Time, "How the 14th Amendment's Promise of Birthright Citizenship Redefined America," 9 July 2018 The acceleration is formidable on a flat-out launch, but the performance is far more moderated on the daily drive as the turbo manages the 3,600-pound curb weight. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti: fast-casual Italian," 15 June 2018 Ghost happens to be the most formidable, and the most powerful, and obviously has a personal connection to our heroes. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The folks behind Ant-Man and the Wasp on why Marvel doesn’t always have to save the world," 5 July 2018 The 19th Ward remains one of the most politically formidable in Chicago, with the far Southwest Side neighborhoods of Beverly and Mount Greenwood routinely coming in at or near the top of citywide voter turnout in city elections. John Byrne,, "Emanuel names Ald. O'Shea to lead Aviation Committee, which will oversee massive O'Hare renovation," 26 June 2018 The defense is formidable, but defensive lineman Marcus Davenport was a special playmaker who moved on to the NFL and will be missed. Iliana Limón Romero,, "Texas-San Antonio is rebuilding its offense, No. 103 in 2018 preseason college football rankingsr," 16 May 2018 Russian surface-to-air missiles are still formidable, hence the long-running concerns over the possible supply of the advanced S-300 system to Iran. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "4 Ways Russia's Military Is More Advanced Than You Might Think," 25 Nov. 2015 Feelings are still a little bruised after that whole Civil War thing, but everyone has to band together to fight off Thanos, who's a little more formidable than previously considered. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "We rank every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from worst to best," 6 July 2018 Adding center Mike Pouncey should create a more formidable interior line along with young guards Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp. Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY, "Chargers training camp questions: Room for more stars in Los Angeles?," 27 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

5 Sep 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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