- being in accordance with the usual requirements, customs, etc.; conventional: to pay one's formal respects.
- marked by form or ceremony: a formal occasion.
- designed for wear or use at occasions or events marked by elaborate ceremony or prescribed social observance: The formal attire included tuxedos and full-length gowns.
- requiring a type of dress suitable for such occasions: a formal dance.
- observant of conventional requirements of behavior, procedure, etc., as persons; ceremonious.
- excessively ceremonious: a manner that was formal and austere.
- being a matter of form only; perfunctory: We expected more than just formal courtesy.
- made or done in accordance with procedures that ensure validity: a formal authorization.
- of, relating to, or emphasizing the organization or composition of the constituent elements in a work of art perceived separately from its subject matter: a formal approach to painting; the formal structure of a poem.
- being in accordance with prescribed or customary forms: a formal siege.
- Theater. (of a stage setting) generalized and simplified in design, especially of architectural elements, and serving as a permanent set for a play irrespective of changes in location.
- acquired in school; academic: He had little formal training in economics.
- symmetrical or highly organized: a formal garden.
- of, reflecting, or noting a usage of language in which syntax, pronunciation, etc., adhere to traditional standards of correctness and usage is characterized by the absence of casual, contracted, and colloquial forms: The paper was written in formal English.
- pertaining to form.
- Aristotelianism.not material; essential.
- Logic. formal logic.
- pertaining to the form, shape, or mode of a thing, especially as distinguished from the substance: formal writing, bereft of all personality.
- being such merely in appearance or name; nominal: a formal head of the government having no actual powers.
- (of a proof) in strict logical form with a justification for every step.
- (of a calculation) correct in form; made with strict justification for every step.
- (of a calculation, derivation, representation, or the like) of or relating to manipulation of symbols without regard to their meaning.
- a dance, ball, or other social occasion that requires formalwear.
- an evening gown.
- in formal attire: We're supposed to go formal.
Origin of formal1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Origin of formal2
Examples from the Web for formal
He hoped also to be a chaplain through his local church, and he was nearing the end of his formal training.In The Shadow of Murdered Cops
December 26, 2014
“The psychology of BDSM is lacking in other formal training regiments and interactions,” added Stella.Dungeons and Genital Clamps: Inside a Legendary BDSM Chateau
December 20, 2014
“To my knowledge, there was no formal consultation done with the tribes on this policy,” says Eid.Tribes to U.S. Government: Take Your Weed and Shove It
December 13, 2014
When Jackson found out about this campaign against him a year later, he made a formal request that every charge be investigated.Stonewall Jackson, VMI’s Most Embattled Professor
S. C. Gwynne
November 29, 2014
FWS submitted a formal rule and delisted the grizzly in 2007, but was sued by wildlife groups.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
Yet the superscription is of his dictating, I dare say, for he is a formal wretch.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Again, the girl made her formal response in the affirmative, then left the room.Within the Law
It is not a thing for which one can render formal thanks in formal words.De Profundis
The tone was formal, and put Payne ten thousand leagues away from her.Quaint Courtships
He had known Jack's governor for years, and so a too formal introduction was unnecessary.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
- of, according to, or following established or prescribed forms, conventions, etca formal document
- characterized by observation of conventional forms of ceremony, behaviour, dress, etca formal dinner
- methodical, precise, or stiff
- suitable for occasions organized according to conventional ceremonyformal dress
- denoting or characterized by idiom, vocabulary, etc, used by educated speakers and writers of a language
- acquired by study in academic institutionsa formal education
- regular or symmetrical in forma formal garden
- of or relating to the appearance, form, etc, of something as distinguished from its substance
- logically deductiveformal proof
- of or relating to form as opposed to matter or content
- pertaining to the essence or nature of somethingformal cause
- (in the writings of Descartes) pertaining to the correspondence between an image or idea and its object
- being in the formal mode
- denoting a second-person pronoun in some languages used when the addressee is a stranger, social superior, etcin French the pronoun ``vous'' is formal, while ``tu'' is informal
- another name for methylal
Word Origin and History for formal
late 14c., from Old French formel (13c.) and directly from Latin formalis, from forma (see form (n.)). As a noun, c.1600 (plural) "things that are formal;" as a short way to say formal dance, recorded by 1906, U.S. college students.