in·for·mal | \(ˌ)in-ˈfȯr-məl \

Definition of informal 

1 : marked by the absence of formality or ceremony an informal meeting

2 : characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary, casual, or familiar use informal clothes

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Other Words from informal

informality \(ˌ)in-(ˌ)fȯr-ˈma-lə-tē, -fər- \ noun
informally \(ˌ)in-ˈfȯr-mə-lē \ adverb

Examples of informal in a Sentence

We had an informal meeting over lunch. He has an informal manner that puts people at ease. He spoke to them in informal Spanish. The term is common in informal contexts. He took an informal poll among his coworkers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

An informal reader survey by Naturein 2008 found that one in five respondents had used drugs to boost concentration or memory. Arran Frood, Scientific American, "Use of “Smart Drugs” on the Rise," 6 July 2018 Stick around afterward for informal discussion, beer, and snacks. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Bay Area: Join us 7/11 to learn what the law has to say about the gig economy," 6 July 2018 English Exchange Practice speaking English in a fun and informal atmosphere, 1:30 p.m. Intermediate knowledge of the language recommended, (2 hr.). Mary Lou Cruz,, "Wellington area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Even moments like putting on shoes, taking a shower or brushing teeth can serve as informal practice in mindfulness. Jennifer Breheny Wallace, WSJ, "Thai Cave Rescue Highlights the Value of Teaching Children to Meditate," 13 July 2018 Sky's report claims that any talks between United and Bale's agent remain informal and that no 'official negotiations' have actually started., "Gareth Bale to Discuss Real Madrid Future With New Coach Julen Lopetegui as Man Utd Wait to Pounce," 13 July 2018 The growth of informal food and goods markets in recent years shows some entrepreneurship, but the learning curve for big firms will be much steeper. The Economist, "Is North Korea the next Vietnam? Don’t count on it," 12 July 2018 Not only does Fox News not try to hide it, management seems proud of the connection Hannity has as chief on-air cheerleader and informal adviser to Trump. David Zurawik,, "Trump's TV messaging machine not looking quite so mighty these days," 12 July 2018 But their first meeting as two heads of state took place in 1969 when Nixon made an informal visit to the U.K., shortly after taking office. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Here's How Every Meeting Between the Queen and a U.S. President Went," 12 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for informal

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for informal

The first known use of informal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for informal



English Language Learners Definition of informal

: having a friendly and relaxed quality

: suited for ordinary use when you are relaxing

of language : relaxed in tone : not suited for serious or official speech and writing


in·for·mal | \in-ˈfȯr-məl \

Kids Definition of informal

1 : not requiring serious or formal behavior or dress an informal party

2 : suitable for ordinary or everyday use an informal dining area

Other Words from informal

informally adverb



Legal Definition of informal 

: marked by the absence of required forms or procedures or by the relaxation of prescribed rules an informal hearing

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More from Merriam-Webster on informal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for informal

Spanish Central: Translation of informal

Nglish: Translation of informal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of informal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on informal

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


a generally accepted meaning of a word

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