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 Docorights, a coalition of human rights groups in Israel, filed a complaint against the new regulations, saying they were formulated without public input and gave the police overly broad powers to regulate protests. Marcy Oster,, "Israeli Police seek stricter regulations on public protests," 20 Aug. 2019 For the past few years, the main challenge with formulating a carbon budget has been definitional. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Climate Change Is Very Real. But So Much of It Is Uncertain," 17 July 2019 For four years Zubrzycki spent five hours a day researching and formulating his design. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 All Too Random The abruptness of quantum jumps was a central pillar of the way quantum theory was formulated by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and their colleagues in the mid-1920s, in a picture now commonly called the Copenhagen interpretation. Wired, "Physicists See a Quantum Leap, Halt It, and Reverse It," 9 June 2019 For example, Sri Lanka can formulate its own strategy without too much coordination with India while Bangladesh cannot do so. Sahana Ghosh, Quartz India, "India’s noxious emissions are messing up neighbours’ air, too," 8 Sep. 2019 The department is formulating policies to lessen the caseloads of internal affairs investigators, according to court filings submitted as part of the consent agreement. Jessica Anderson,, "Baltimore Police struggle to investigate their own, new consent decree report says," 23 July 2019 As expected, fans are already formulating theories about the album as a whole. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "BTS’s "Map of the Soul: Persona" Song "Dionysus" Has Brought Out a Cross-Section of BTS and "Percy Jackson" Fans," 9 Apr. 2019 In addition to recommending a diet that’s low in sugar, high in protein, and completely devoid of dairy, Peacock has also formulated a line of nutritional supplements targeting everything from immunity to sleep to best aid her clients. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "All the Ways Meghan Markle Has Transformed Prince Harry’s Bad Boy Health Habits," 4 Jan. 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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for formulate

The first known use of formulate was in 1855

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How to pronounce formulate (audio)

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 of little or no value

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