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 Ladies to the Front Rakastella almost achieved gender parity this year, and the list of female artists -- which included Marie Davidson, Jayda G and Aurora Halal -- was formidable. Annabel Ross, Billboard, "The Best of Rakastella 2019, an Oceanside Alternative to Art Basel Miami," 9 Dec. 2019 The frontline of 6-6 senior Ty Wright (9.1 ppg, 4.6 rebounds), 6-6 junior Luke Fowler (10.4 ppg, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists) and 6-6 junior Miles McGowen (8.8 ppg, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists) is formidable. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana high school basketball preview: Indy-area class-by-class capsules," 24 Nov. 2019 Then the team has a formidable challenge in the final three games: Air Force (3-2), Wyoming (4-1) and Boise State (5-0). Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "CSU Rams ranks 15th — among CBS Sports’ Bottom 25 college football teams," 9 Oct. 2019 The Vikings should present a more formidable challenge for the offense than the Redskins, who are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Brad Biggs,, "Bears Q&A: Why isn’t Mitch Trubisky running more? Where has Tarik Cohen gone in the offense? Could Alex Smith be a future QB option?," 25 Sep. 2019 Federer is facing a formidable challenge, one every bit as daunting as his relentless back-and-forth showdown with Rafael Nadal in a three-hour semifinal on Friday. Sam Farmer,, "Wimbledon: Roger Federer again faces test of time and Novak Djokovic," 13 July 2019 That unique capacity is today endangered by grotesque levels of oligarchic power and domestic inequality, as well as formidable challenges from economic powers such as China that the capitalist West had once dominated and exploited. Pankaj Mishra, Twin Cities, "Pankaj Mishra: Putin’s wrong, but so are liberals," 11 July 2019 Around 1840, when photography was still in its infancy, a young medical-school professor at New York University took on a formidable challenge: using his brand-new camera to shoot the moon. Peter Saenger, WSJ, "Shooting the Moon," 31 May 2019 Sharks are some of the world’s most formidable predators, but their place at the top of the marine food chain may be threatened by ocean warming and acidification. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Ocean Acidification Could Eat Away at Sharks’ Teeth and Scales," 19 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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Formidable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 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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Comments on formidable

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