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

But a challenge from Kennedy, the grandson of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, would be formidable. Jazmine Ulloa, BostonGlobe.com, "Ed Markey releases video endorsement from Elizabeth Warren amid possible Joe Kennedy primary challenge," 19 Aug. 2019 Oregon State’s run defense, non-existent a year ago, was formidable Saturday night. oregonlive.com, "Oregon State defense holds its own and perhaps wins Saturday’s scrimmage: Day 15 recap," 17 Aug. 2019 But for many other approximation sequences the double-counting challenge is formidable. Quanta Magazine, "New Proof Settles How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi," 14 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, the challenges of explainable AI are formidable. Michael Li, WIRED, "High-Stakes AI Decisions Need to Be Automatically Audited," 18 July 2019 But since Garner’s death brought a surge of momentum to the Black Lives Matter movement, this distrust is proving to be formidable. Melissa Chan, Time, "A Police Officer Killed Their Mother, and Her Sons Want to Know Why He Hasn't Faced Trial," 18 July 2019 The Rodriguez-MacIntyre tandem is potentially formidable. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 43 Ole Miss pushes to win despite key departures," 13 July 2019 With an impressive front bench, a strong spread of candidates, youthful support and a good ground game, Sinn Fein is formidable on paper, yet a number of factors seem to be holding it back. The Economist, "A former voice of violence hopes to enter Ireland’s government," 22 June 2019 Legitimate competition does exist and comes in the form of a formidable, if dated, player. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Slack’s Ascent Could Face Some Bumps," 19 June 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

22 Aug 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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