formal

1
[ fawr-muh l ]
/ ˈfɔr məl /

adjective

noun

a dance, ball, or other social occasion that requires formalwear.
an evening gown.

adverb

in formal attire: We're supposed to go formal.

Nearby words

  1. form word,
  2. form-fitting,
  3. formability,
  4. formable,
  5. formad's kidney,
  6. formal cause,
  7. formal equivalence,
  8. formal language,
  9. formal logic,
  10. formal mode

Origin of formal

1
1350–1400; Middle English formal, formel < Latin fōrmālis. See form, -al1

SYNONYMS FOR formal
2. Formal, academic, conventional may have either favorable or unfavorable implications. Formal may mean in proper form, or may imply excessive emphasis on empty form. In the favorable sense, academic applies to scholars or higher institutions of learning; it may, however, imply slavish conformance to mere rules, or to belief in impractical theories. Conventional, in a favorable sense, applies to desirable conformity with accepted conventions or customs; but it more often is applied to arbitrary, forced, or meaningless conformity. 5. conforming, conformist. 6. punctilious. 8. official.

Related formsfor·mal·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for formalness

formal

1
/ (ˈfɔːməl) /

adjective

Derived Formsformally, adverbformalness, noun

Word Origin for formal

C14: from Latin formālis

formal

2
/ (ˈfɔːmæl) /

noun

another name for methylal

Word Origin for formal

C19: from form (ic) + -al ³

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 formalness

formal

adj.

late 14c., from Old French formel (13c.) and directly from Latin formalis, from forma (see form (n.)). As a noun, c.1600 (plural) "things that are formal;" as a short way to say formal dance, recorded by 1906, U.S. college students.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper