Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

formalism

[fawr-muh-liz-uh m]
See more synonyms for formalism on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. strict adherence to, or observance of, prescribed or traditional forms, as in music, poetry, and art.
  2. Religion. strong attachment to external forms and observances.
  3. Ethics. a doctrine that acts are in themselves right or wrong regardless of consequences.
  4. Logic, Mathematics. a doctrine, which evolved from a proposal of David Hilbert, that mathematics, including the logic used in proofs, can be based on the formal manipulation of symbols without regard to their meaning.
Show More

Origin of formalism

First recorded in 1830–40; formal1 + -ism
Related formsfor·mal·ist, noun, adjectivefor·mal·is·tic, adjectivefor·mal·is·ti·cal·ly, adverban·ti·for·mal·ist, noun, adjectivenon·for·mal·ism, nounnon·for·mal·is·tic, adjectiveun·for·mal·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for formalist

enforcer, idealist, quibbler, fusspot, purist, trainer, authoritarian, bully, stickler, master, tyrant, despot, teacher, sundowner, sergeant, formalist, fussbudget

Examples from the Web for formalist

Contemporary Examples of formalist

Historical Examples of formalist


British Dictionary definitions for formalist

formalism

noun
  1. scrupulous or excessive adherence to outward form at the expense of inner reality or content
    1. the mathematical or logical structure of a scientific argument as distinguished from its subject matter
    2. the notation, and its structure, in which information is expressed
  2. theatre a stylized mode of production
  3. (in Marxist criticism) excessive concern with artistic technique at the expense of social values, etc
  4. the philosophical theory that a mathematical statement has no meaning but that its symbols, regarded as physical objects, exhibit a structure that has useful applicationsCompare logicism, intuitionism
Show More
Derived Formsformalist, nounformalistic, adjectiveformalistically, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for formalist

formalism

n.

1840, "strict adherence to prescribed forms," from formal + -ism. Attested from 1943 in reference to the Russian literary movement (1916-30). Related: Formalist; formalistic.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper