Definition of "formal" []

  • Relating to or involving outward form or structure. (adjective)
  • Being or relating to essential form or constitution: a formal principle. (adjective)
  • Following or being in accord with accepted forms, conventions, or regulations: had little formal education; went to a formal party. (adjective)
  • Executed, carried out, or done in proper or regular form: a formal reprimand; a formal document. (adjective)
  • Characterized by strict or meticulous observation of forms; methodical: very formal in their business transactions. (adjective)
  • Of, according to, or following established or prescribed forms, conventions, etc (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • Characterized by observation of conventional forms of ceremony, behaviour, dress, etc (adjective)
  • Methodical, precise, or stiff (adjective)
  • Suitable for occasions organized according to conventional ceremony (adjective)
  • Denoting or characterized by idiom, vocabulary, etc, used by educated speakers and writers of a language (adjective)
  • Acquired by study in academic institutions (adjective)
  • Regular or symmetrical in form (adjective)
  • Of or relating to the appearance, form, etc, of something as distinguished from its substance (adjective)
  • Logically deductive (adjective)
  • Of or relating to form as opposed to matter or content (adjective)
  • Pertaining to the essence or nature of something (adjective)
  • (in the writings of Descartes) pertaining to the correspondence between an image or idea and its object (adjective)
  • Being in the formal mode (adjective)
  • Denoting a second-person pronoun in some languages used when the addressee is a stranger, social superior, etc (adjective) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "formal" in a sentence
  • "As a formal theory (in Husserl's sense of ˜formal™, i.e., as opposed to ˜material™) mereology is simply an attempt to lay down the general principles underlying the relationships between an entity and its constituent parts, whatever the nature of the entity, just as set theory is an attempt to lay down the principles underlying the relationships between a set and its members."
  • "In this book, the term formal thought disorder is used to refer to the aphasialike utterances of patients."
  • "But so keen for symmetry, for all the term formal beauty implies, is Chopin, that seldom does his morbidity madden, his voluptuousness poison."