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noun, plural for·mal·i·ties.
  1. condition or quality of being formal; accordance with required or traditional rules, procedures, etc.; conventionality.
  2. rigorously methodical character.
  3. strict adherence to established rules and procedures; rigidity.
  4. observance of form or ceremony.
  5. marked or excessive ceremoniousness.
  6. an established order or method of proceeding: the formalities of judicial process.
  7. a formal act or observance.
  8. 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

Synonyms for formality

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for formalities


noun plural -ties
  1. a requirement of rule, custom, etiquette, etc
  2. the condition or quality of being formal or conventional
  3. strict or excessive observance of form, ceremony, etc
  4. 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

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