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

The text messages show that Tillery, who was mayor in the early 1990s, played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in formulating the strategy to save Black and push back against Cranley, a one-time friend turned political rival. Dan Horn,, "Council texts: Former mayor Dwight Tillery blasted John Cranley as 'rogue mayor,' threatened civil unrest," 12 June 2019 Greg Petry, a 40-year suburban park administrator turned consultant who was hired by Buffalo Grove to assist in formulating a long-term strategic plan, led the May 30 event. Elizabeth Owens-schiele,, "Buffalo Grove Park District hosts public input forum: 'I want to make sure we're offering enough for everyone'," 5 June 2019 But beyond the gorgeous bottles, high-end brands are also taking a spare-no-expense approach to formulating what goes into them to deliver results that are truly worth posting about. Glamour, "Beauty Awards: The 17 Best Skin Care Products of 2019," 25 Mar. 2019 Ironically, the best country that the United States could work with in formulating such a long-term economic strategy might well be China. Kishore Mahbubani, Harper's magazine, "What China Threat?," 10 Feb. 2019 Khot’s motivation in formulating this conjecture was tightly tied to graph coloring. Quanta Magazine, "First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture," 24 Apr. 2018 What's more, this person also is tied to the new allegations as having played a role in formulating and executing plans to pay Kansas and NC State recruits. Chris White, The Courier-Journal, "The FBI just introduced a new character to the Louisville basketball scandal," 11 Apr. 2018 The Missouri football team is still in the early stages of formulating a new offensive attack. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Mizzou football's new offense could feature more than 100 different routes | The Kansas City Star," 5 Apr. 2018 Additionally, there are some sunscreens that have been formulated for specific skin concerns. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "How to Pick the Best Sunscreen for Your Lovely Face," 10 May 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

20 Jun 2019

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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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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