for·​mi·​da·​ble | \ ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl How to pronounce formidable (audio) ; fȯr-ˈmi-, fər-ˈmi- How to pronounce formidable (audio) \

Definition of formidable

1 : causing fear, dread, or apprehension a formidable prospect
2 : having qualities that discourage approach or attack a formidable opponent
3 : tending to inspire awe or wonder : impressive a formidable accomplishment

Other Words from formidable

formidability \ ˌfȯr-​mə-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce formidable (audio) ; fȯr-​ˌmi-​ , fər-​ˌmi-​ \ noun
formidableness \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​də-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce formidable (audio) ; fȯr-​ˈmi-​ , fər-​ˈmi-​ \ noun
formidably \ ˈfȯr-​mə-​də-​blē How to pronounce formidable (audio) ; fȯr-​ˈmi-​ , fər-​ˈmi-​ \ adverb

Examples of formidable in a Sentence

She was known throughout Manchester as a formidable woman, and being educated had only piled more formidability on top of what she had been born with. — Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003 The technology was formidable: using two and a half million rivets, 300 steeplejacks working flat out would run it up in the space of two years … — Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, 2002 Alta is reached by a hairpin road that climbs steadily upward—a ride of thirty minutes or so, depending on road and weather conditions—through some of the most formidable mountain scenery in the country. — Cynthia Zarin, New Yorker, 23 Mar. 1992 The mountains were a formidable barrier. He has mastered a formidable amount of material.
Recent Examples on the Web The dogs come in handy, as does Chase’s own rusty but formidable aptitude for violence, when the government catches up to him and dispatches an assassin to his lovely suburban home. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 14 June 2022 One other thing: The people are friendly and formidable, quick to flash a smile at friendliness … and just as quick to suck our teeth at foolishness — so mind your manners. Juliet Pennington,, 26 May 2022 Researchers have long seen stars orbiting something invisible, formidable, and compact at the center of the Milky Way. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 12 May 2022 For decades, Anne Hendricks Bass reigned as a mysterious and formidable figure at the very height of American society. Ian Malone, Vogue, 11 May 2022 Both women are fiercely intelligent, formidable and in their primes. Tara Ellison, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 In 2015, after Russia annexed Crimea, Russia used the Victory Day Parade to reveal a robust suite of new and seemingly formidable Russian weaponry. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Mitchell is a formidable, temperamental, and fiercely loyal Attorney General to Nixon—until that loyalty is tested by his outspoken wife, Martha. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, 24 Apr. 2022 The decade of the 2010s is littered with accomplished, formidable, and conservative governors who flamed out in their presidential campaigns. Peter Spiliakos, National Review, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'formidable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of formidable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for formidable

Middle English, from Latin formidabilis, from formidare to fear, from formido terror, bogey; akin to Greek mormō bogey

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Time Traveler for formidable

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

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Dictionary Entries Near formidable



forming die

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Formidable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for formidable


for·​mi·​da·​ble | \ ˈfȯr-mə-də-bəl How to pronounce formidable (audio) \

Kids Definition of formidable

1 : causing fear or awe a formidable enemy
2 : offering serious difficulties a formidable task
3 : large or impressive in size or extent a formidable waterfall

Other Words from formidable

formidably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on formidable

Nglish: Translation of formidable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of formidable for Arabic Speakers


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