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 Andrew Tobias reports that Lisa Stickan, president of the Highland Heights council and a staff attorney for a Republican Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge, is perhaps Frost’s most formidable opponent yet. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "What news have you missed while you’ve been sheltering from the coronavirus? The Wake Up for Friday, May 22, 2020," 22 May 2020 Such is the nature of a battle with a virus, our most formidable foe. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta: If the United States were my patient," 17 May 2020 The Run for the Roses, the one day each year Louisville is guaranteed to capture the nation’s attention, was eclipsed by a most formidable opponent. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville celebrated the Kentucky Derby Day that wasn't, thanks to the coronavirus," 2 May 2020 Gantz’s assent to a joint government led to the immediate breakup of his party, dismantling the most formidable adversary Netanyahu faced during his last 11 years in office. Isabel Kershner,, "Deal extends Netanyahu’s rule as rival accepts Israeli unity government," 20 Apr. 2020 Captain Bennet’s story is only a small part of the F-15’s gargantuan legacy as one of the Air Force’s most formidable fighter platforms. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the F-15 Is Such a Badass Plane," 17 Apr. 2020 In Miami, Jones will team with Xavien Howard to give the Dolphins one of the NFL's most formidable cornerback tandems. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Miami Dolphins make former Dallas Cowboys standout Byron Jones NFL's highest-paid CB," 17 Mar. 2020 My optimism is rooted not only in my conviction that democracy is an inevitable global movement, one that even the most formidable regime cannot reverse, but also in my unshakable faith in the people of Hong Kong. Joshua Wong, Time, ""Hong Kong is at an Existential Crossroads." Joshua Wong on the Future of His Homeland.," 20 Feb. 2020 Pit our hero against the most formidable and popular bounty hunter in Star Wars? James Hibberd,, "The Mandalorian episode 5 theory: Those boots at the end belong to…," 6 Dec. 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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Formidable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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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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