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 The specs, particularly at the high end, sound formidable, with Tesla boasting 500+ miles of range and a towing capacity that beats Ford Motor Co.’s F-150. Liam Denning | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Designed to Shatterproof Its Stock," 22 Nov. 2019 This team is flawed but also formidable, capable of maddening mistakes but also long stretches of dominance. George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Oklahoma still has Playoff pulse after stunning comeback against Baylor," 17 Nov. 2019 Al-Baghdadi was formidable, arguably the most wanted man on Earth. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: The U.S. delivers justice to al-Baghdadi," 28 Oct. 2019 The Vols will be formidable early, but then the bottom falls out. Charles Hollis, al, "Third Saturday, but 13th straight nightmare for Vols," 18 Oct. 2019 After Milwaukee's 2-2 start, Nurse felt the Bucks looked formidable Friday night in their 123-91 victory over the Orlando Magic. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks, Raptors renew their rivalry after last season's battle in the Eastern Conference finals," 2 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, the Astros are looking more formidable by the day. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Nearly down-and-out, Astros steal World Series momentum from Nationals after Game 4 rout," 27 Oct. 2019 But to their credit, the Gophers have looked formidable against conference opponents, blowing out Nebraska, 34-7, on Saturday night a week after dominating Illinois. C.j. Doon,, "College football overreaction index, Week 7: Is Georgia missing the playoff?; call it the ‘Power 6’ now," 14 Oct. 2019 Not everybody has Taylor Swift’s celebrity, which is a political force more formidable than a mere billion dollars. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "A Host of Squalid Oligarchs," 3 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for formidable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for formidable

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Formidable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for formidable


How to pronounce formidable (audio) How to pronounce formidable (audio)

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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