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90s Slang You Should Know


[fawr-mal-i-tee] /fɔrˈmæl ɪ ti/
noun, plural formalities.
condition or quality of being formal; accordance with required or traditional rules, procedures, etc.; conventionality.
rigorously methodical character.
strict adherence to established rules and procedures; rigidity.
observance of form or ceremony.
marked or excessive ceremoniousness.
an established order or method of proceeding:
the formalities of judicial process.
a formal act or observance.
something done merely or mainly for form's sake; a requirement of custom or etiquette:
the formality of a thank-you note.
Origin of formality
From the Latin word fōrmālitās, dating back to 1525-35. See formal1, -ity
7. rite, ritual, ceremony. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for formalities
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her arrival was a check—the formalities of her betrothed's house never failed to upset her.

    Joanna Godden Sheila Kaye-Smith
  • formalities puzzled them—seemed to strike them as futilities.

    Change in the Village (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt
  • Both these ladies, moreover, would be very well to do when the people at the War Office had come to an end of their formalities.

    Father Goriot Honore de Balzac
  • I do not mean that all the formalities were completed in a day.

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
  • After the formalities of our meeting were over the stranger stood for a few moments with his chin resting on his breast.

  • There are some formalities in old France which we have not shaken off.

    A Little Girl in Old Quebec Amanda Millie Douglas
  • Your majesty's word is amply sufficient for me; let Romanzoff and Champagny quarrel about the formalities.

British Dictionary definitions for formalities


noun (pl) -ties
a requirement of rule, custom, etiquette, etc
the condition or quality of being formal or conventional
strict or excessive observance of form, ceremony, etc
an established, proper, or conventional method, act, or procedure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for formalities



1530s, "agreement as to form," from Middle French formalité (15c.) or directly from Latin formalis "formal" (see formal). Originally "literary form;" meaning "something done for the sake of form" is from 1590s. Related: Formalities.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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