- causing fear, apprehension, or dread: a formidable opponent.
- of discouraging or awesome strength, size, difficulty, etc.; intimidating: a formidable problem.
- arousing feelings of awe or admiration because of grandeur, strength, etc.
- of great strength; forceful; powerful: formidable opposition to the proposal.
Origin of formidable
1400–50; late Middle English < French < Latin formīdābilis causing fear, equivalent to formīd- (stem of formīdāre to fear) + -ābilis -able
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for formidability
The barbed-wire entanglements were deep, in keeping with the formidability of the German trench system.
- arousing or likely to inspire fear or dread
- extremely difficult to defeat, overcome, manage, etca formidable problem
- tending to inspire awe or admiration because of great size, strength, excellence, etc
C15: from Latin formīdābilis, from formīdāre to dread, from formīdō fear
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 formidability
mid-15c., from Middle French formidable (15c.), from Latin formidabilis "causing fear, terrible," from formidare "to fear," from formido "fearfulness, fear, terror, dread." Related: Formidably.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper