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[fawr-muh-lahyz] /ˈfɔr məˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), formalized, formalizing.
to make formal, especially for the sake of official or authorized acceptance:
to formalize an understanding by drawing up a legal contract.
to give a definite form or shape to.
to state or restate (the rules or implied rules of a grammar or the like) in symbolic form.
Also, especially British, formalise.
Origin of formalize
First recorded in 1590-1600; formal1 + -ize
Related forms
formalization, noun
formalizer, noun
overformalize, verb, overformalized, overformalizing.
unformalized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for formalize
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "formalize our mating as soon as she is able to get out of bed," Kennon replied.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • But this priest was standing in the corridor and was rather insistent that he formalize some prayers at that point.

    Warren Commission (7 of 26): Hearings Vol. VII (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • Yet strangely and unexpectedly the attempt to formalize his faith almost shook his faith out of him again.

    The Devil's Garden

    W. B. Maxwell
British Dictionary definitions for formalize


to be or make formal
(transitive) to make official or valid
(transitive) to give a definite shape or form to
(logic) to extract the logical form of (an expression), to express in the symbols of some formal system
Derived Forms
formalization, formalisation, noun
formalizer, formaliser, noun
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 formalize

1590s, from formal + -ize. Related: Formalized; formalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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