for·​mu·​late | \ ˈfȯr-myə-ˌlāt How to pronounce formulate (audio) \
formulated; formulating

Definition of formulate

transitive verb

1a : to reduce to or express in a formula formulate the area of a rectangle
b : to put into a systematized statement or expression formulate long-term goals
c : devise formulate a policy formulate a plan
2a : to develop a formula for the preparation of (something, such as a soap or plastic) a plastic specially formulated to resist high temperatures
b : to prepare according to a formula formulate the vaccine against malaria

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Other Words from formulate

formulator \ ˈfȯr-​myə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce formulator (audio) \ noun

Examples of formulate in a Sentence

a plastic specially formulated to resist high temperatures the doctor was trying to formulate a good way to tell her that she would need surgery

Recent Examples on the Web

These modern babes are multi-tasking and formulated with buzzy ingredients such as clay, charcoal, and seaweed. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "I Tried Nair’s New Hair-Removal Masks — Here’s What Happened," 15 July 2019 Las Vegas was founded the year Einstein formulated his theory of special relativity., "15 things to love and 11 things to loathe about Boston," 2 July 2019 The finches of the Galapagos islands unwittingly played a pivotal role in scientific history, helping Charles Darwin formulate his theories of natural selection. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Parasites Are Ruining the Lovesongs of Darwin’s Finches," 13 June 2019 Sydney’s coveted hair care brand recently launched a skin care line, and a standout is the luxe FS1 Face Scrub formulated with volcanic sands and crushed diamonds for maximum exfoliation. $60. Kevin Smothers,, "Father’s Day shopping: Give the gift of grooming with these fresh products," 6 June 2019 No one has yet formulated such a theory to everyone’s satisfaction. Quanta Magazine, "New Quantum Paradox Clarifies Where Our Views of Reality Go Wrong," 3 Dec. 2018 Network television networks have spent little time on the issue in recent years and may lack the expertise to formulate the right questions. Justin Worland, Time, "The Debates Showed America Still Doesn't Know How to Talk About Climate Change," 29 June 2019 Rather than try to formulate a detailed definition, Mr. Hawley’s bill defaults to the First Amendment: If the government can’t constitutionally suppress the content at issue, then neither could a website. Chris Cox, WSJ, "Hawley’s Bad Idea to Protect Speech," 23 June 2019 Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York, John Adams of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut—to formulate a statement justifying the colonies' separation from Great Britain. Alex Aronson, Popular Mechanics, "Why July 2nd Is Actually America's True Independence Day," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formulate.' 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 formulate

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for formulate

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for formulate

The first known use of formulate was in 1855

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More Definitions for formulate



English Language Learners Definition of formulate

: to create, invent, or produce (something) by careful thought and effort


for·​mu·​late | \ ˈfȯr-myə-ˌlāt How to pronounce formulate (audio) \
formulated; formulating

Kids Definition of formulate

: to create, invent, or produce by careful thought and effort formulate a medicine formulate an answer

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Comments on formulate

What made you want to look up formulate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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