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See more synonyms for formalize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), for·mal·ized, for·mal·iz·ing.
  1. to make formal, especially for the sake of official or authorized acceptance: to formalize an understanding by drawing up a legal contract.
  2. to give a definite form or shape to.
  3. to state or restate (the rules or implied rules of a grammar or the like) in symbolic form.
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Also especially British, for·mal·ise.

Origin of formalize

First recorded in 1590–1600; formal1 + -ize
Related formsfor·mal·i·za·tion, nounfor·mal·iz·er, nouno·ver·for·mal·ize, verb, o·ver·for·mal·ized, o·ver·for·mal·iz·ing.un·for·mal·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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



  1. to be or make formal
  2. (tr) to make official or valid
  3. (tr) to give a definite shape or form to
  4. logic to extract the logical form of (an expression), to express in the symbols of some formal system
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Derived Formsformalization or formalisation, nounformalizer or 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

Word Origin and History for formalize


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper