[ fawr-mal-i-tee ]
See synonyms for: formalityformalities on

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.

  1. strict adherence to established rules and procedures; rigidity.

  2. observance of form or ceremony.

  3. marked or excessive ceremoniousness.

  4. an established order or method of proceeding: the formalities of judicial process.

  5. a formal act or observance.

  6. 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

Other words for formality Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use formality in a sentence

  • "Now, you say you heard your sister scream," said the lawyer after the usual formalities had passed.

    The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
  • Neither of these formalities seems to have obtained generally in classical times.

    The Private Life of the Romans | Harold Whetstone Johnston
  • The masseur had a great deal of trouble in explaining to her the parliamentary formalities of the verification of elections.

    The Nabob | Alphonse Daudet
  • He forgot one or two of the formalities which were religiously observed at that solitary table.

    With Edged Tools | Henry Seton Merriman

British Dictionary definitions for formality


/ (fɔːˈmælɪtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. a requirement of rule, custom, etiquette, etc

  2. the condition or quality of being formal or conventional

  1. strict or excessive observance of form, ceremony, etc

  2. 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