1
: produced according to a formula or set of formulas : adhering to set forms or conventions
a formulaic response
a movie with a formulaic plot
… much of the will's language was formulaic, in accordance with Venetian customs.Laurence Bergreen
The film … uses simple, formulaic storytelling to spin the tale of Bella, a rescued pit bull who makes her way home after a two-year walkabout.Katie Walsh
2
: of or relating to a mathematical formula
Those projections prompted the department to evaluate the state tax withholding tables. In September, the department found the formulaic error that had apparently been there, undetected, for at least 15 years.Kathryn Palmer
formulaically adverb
… his songs still stick formulaically to the surface of pop entertainments. David Sargent
The price of admission to local social functions is often expressed formulaically as 'Gentlemen $2, ladies a plate', meaning a plate of scones or the like. Robert Burchfield

Examples of formulaic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Until then, here are some takeaways from KU’s win over Oklahoma... Three-pointers play a role Kansas road games were starting to feel a bit formulaic — or even predictable — before this one. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 17 Feb. 2024 The movies that are a little bit more familiar or formulaic or just try to do kind of the same thing with the same stars aren’t going to be as successful, because there’s not going to be a real reason for people to make the effort to go and watch them. J. Clara Chan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Feb. 2024 Issues around copyright, spam content, hallucination, the formulaic nature of algorithmic creation and bias all need to be considered by professionals planning on adopting it into their workflow. Bernard Marr, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 True, Central Intelligence is predictable, formulaic, and forgettable. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 The creators’ understanding of Blanco, her possible brilliance and certifiable viciousness falls along very formulaic lines. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Jan. 2024 Pop is a highly formulaic art, and some amount of copying is pretty much inevitable. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2024 There are enough formulaic elements, especially teens meeting gory deaths, to keep undiscerning viewers in their seats. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 20 Jan. 2024 The Lee and Jackson windows are modest and formulaic and, subject-wise, don’t belong in a religious space. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 11 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'formulaic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of formulaic was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near formulaic

Cite this Entry

“Formulaic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/formulaic. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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