View synonyms for formation


[ fawr-mey-shuhn ]


  1. the act or process of forming or the state of being formed:

    the formation of ice.

    Synonyms: organization, establishment

  2. the manner in which a thing is formed; disposition of parts; formal structure or arrangement.
  3. Military.
    1. a particular disposition of troops, as in columns, squares, etc.
    2. any required assembling of the soldiers of a unit.
  4. Geology.
    1. a body of rocks classed as a stratigraphic unit for geologic mapping. Compare member ( def 8 ).
    2. the process of depositing rock or mineral of a particular composition or origin.


/ fɔːˈmeɪʃən /


  1. the act of giving or taking form, shape, or existence
  2. something that is formed
  3. the manner in which something is formed or arranged
    1. a formal arrangement of a number of persons or things acting as a unit, such as a troop of soldiers, aircraft in flight, or a football team
    2. ( as modifier )

      formation dancing

  4. geology
    1. the fundamental lithostratigraphic unit
    2. a series of rocks with certain characteristics in common
  5. ecology a community of plants, such as a tropical rainforest, extending over a very large area


/ fôr-māshən /

  1. A long, mappable body of rock that is recognizable by its physical characteristics and by its location within the rock record.

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Derived Forms

  • forˈmational, adjective

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Other Words From

  • for·mation·al adjective
  • misfor·mation noun
  • nonfor·mation noun
  • self-for·mation noun
  • subfor·mation noun
  • super·for·mation noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of formation1

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English formacioun, from Latin fōrmātiōn-, stem of fōrmātiō, from fōrmāt(us) “shaped” (past participle of fōrmāre “to shape, fashion”; form ) + -iō -ion

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Example Sentences

The formation of the Earth was a violent process, marked by shuddering asteroid impacts and infernal, large-scale collisions.

To try to explain this, astronomers invoke the idea of “quenching,” where something acts to suppress or shut down the formation of new stars across galaxies.

Scientists also think the atmosphere has likely encouraged the formation of organic compounds on Titan, another boost to hopes for life.

While the second-year quarterback’s elevated play was key to the unit’s success, the usage of its trio of tight ends and the stable of backfield mates for Jackson allowed the offense to truly flourish – especially out of heavy formations.

Crunching all sorts of numbers about star formation rates and ages, results of planet searches and other astronomical studies yields estimates for each term in the CETI equation.

Twin buglers played “Taps” and three police helicopters flew overhead in the missing-man formation.

“Stay in formation,” a sergeant from the ceremonial unit said over a public address system to the cops along the street.

This led to the formation of a Christian militant group to counter the rebels, and all-out sectarian violence exploded.

They looked up into the blue sky as the helicopters flew over in a lost man formation.

For that reason, we will never see the formation of another solar system unfold before our eyes.

The significance of the different varieties is more readily understood if one considers their mode of formation.

Indications of asbestos are found at most points throughout the whole serpentine formation.

This island, like Number 1, which we visited in 1819, appears to be principally of quartzose formation.

For new taxes, however, it would doubtless be necessary to await the formation of a new ministry.

The formation of a new ministry was not an unusual occurrence in the early years of King George the Third.





formateformation dance