in·​for·​mal | \ (ˌ)in-ˈfȯr-məl How to pronounce informal (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from informal

informality \ (ˌ)in-​(ˌ)fȯr-​ˈma-​lə-​tē How to pronounce informality (audio) , -​fər-​ \ noun
informally \ (ˌ)in-​ˈfȯr-​mə-​lē How to pronounce informally (audio) \ 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web People can create formal or informal agreements about sharing a car, kayak or other possessions. oregonlive, "Communal living in Portland during the coronavirus pandemic: Yes, it’s safe and it’s working," 8 July 2020 One of many reasons is large portions of the economies are in the informal sector and by definition offer fewer reliable data sources with which to make estimates. Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s pathway to economic recovery post-Covid is looking much more murky," 6 July 2020 The weakening of businesses and the crippling of India’s informal sector are major problems. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "India’s economic growth will recover next year, but it won’t be easy," 3 July 2020 Meanwhile, many of the stores have found both formal and informal ways to keep classes and gatherings going. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "How yarn stores are adapting to and preparing for social distancing," 10 June 2020 According to Ericson, half of the world’s lead gets recycled in the informal sector. Anuradha Varanasi, Wired, "India Is Using More Solar Energy—but It Carries a Lead Risk," 6 June 2020 In Italy, where the informal sector makes up perhaps 14% of the economy, casual workers are falling back on charity. The Economist, "The week in charts America, race and the police," 5 June 2020 Back at Freeport Marina, boats have filled the docks, alcohol is flowing, the band is blaring, and something resembling an informal bikini contest is underway. John Huey, Southern Living, "The Ultimate Boat Trip Through South Carolina's Undiscovered Lowcountry," 10 July 2020 But in interviews with WIRED, competitive Smash players and fans say the community’s informal structure, egalitarian ideals, and multigenerational appeal have all inadvertently contributed to an unsafe environment. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "The Super Smash Bros. Community Reckons With Sexual Misconduct Allegations," 10 July 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of informal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about informal

Time Traveler for informal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for informal

Last Updated

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Informal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for informal


How to pronounce informal (audio)

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 How to pronounce informal (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!