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Related to formality: normality


n. pl. for·mal·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being formal.
2. Rigorous or ceremonious adherence to established forms, rules, or customs.
3. An established form, rule, or custom, especially one followed merely for the sake of procedure or decorum.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ties
1. a requirement of rule, custom, etiquette, etc
2. the condition or quality of being formal or conventional
3. strict or excessive observance of form, ceremony, etc
4. an established, proper, or conventional method, act, or procedure
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(fɔrˈmæl ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. condition or quality of being formal; accordance with required or traditional rules, procedures, etc.; conventionality.
2. rigorously methodical character.
3. strict adherence to established rules and procedures; rigidity.
4. observance of form or ceremony.
5. marked or excessive ceremoniousness.
6. an established order or method of proceeding.
7. a formal act or observance; ritual.
8. something done merely or mainly for form's sake; a requirement of custom or etiquette.
[1525–35; < Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Formal and self-conscious as a football in a photograph —George Garrett
  2. Formal as a Japanese print —Ramon Delgado
  3. Formal as an undertaker —William Mcllvanney
  4. Informal as paper napkins —Dee Weber
  5. Ordered … like a nun’s evening prayers —Charles Hanson Towne

    This simile is extracted from the first stanza of Towne’s poem, The Best Road of All in which he writes about the best road being that which leads to God. In full context it reads: “I like … a road that is an ordered road, like a nun’s evening prayers.”

Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.formality - a requirement of etiquette or custom; "a mere formality"
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance - a formal event performed on a special occasion; "a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor"
2.formality - a manner that strictly observes all forms and ceremonies; "the formality of his voice made the others pay him close attention"
personal manner, manner - a way of acting or behaving
ceremoniousness - a ceremonial manner
stateliness - an elaborate manner of doing something; "she served coffee with great stateliness"
informality - a manner that does not take forms and ceremonies seriously
3.formality - compliance with formal rules; "courtroom formality"
abidance, compliance, conformity, conformation - acting according to certain accepted standards; "their financial statements are in conformity with generally accepted accounting practices"
person of color, person of colour - (formal) any non-European non-white person
herald, trumpeter - (formal) a person who announces important news; "the chieftain had a herald who announced his arrival with a trumpet"
slough of despond - (formal) extreme depression
in that, in this, therein - (formal) in or into that thing or place; "they can read therein what our plans are"
hereby, herewith - (formal) by means of this; "I hereby declare you man and wife"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. correctness, seriousness, decorum, ceremoniousness, protocol, etiquette, politesse, p's and q's, punctilio Her formality and seriousness amused him.
2. convention, form, conventionality, matter of form, procedure, ceremony, custom, gesture, ritual, rite The will was read, but it was a formality.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. Strict observance of social conventions:
2. A conventional social gesture or act without intrinsic purpose:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
إجْراء شَكْليإجْرَاءٌ شَكْلِيّسُلوك رَسْمي
formlegheit, hátíîleikiformsatriîi
bài diễn văn/hành động trịnh trọng


[fɔːˈmælɪtɪ] N
1. [of occasion] → lo ceremonioso; [of person] (= stiffness) → formalidad f; (= correctness) → corrección f
with all due formalityen la debida forma
2. (= matter of form) it's a mere formalityno es más que una formalidad
let's dispense with the formalitiesprescindamos de las formalidades
3. formalities (bureaucratic) → trámites mpl, gestiones fpl
first there are certain formalitiesprimero hay ciertos requisitos
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(unimportant)formalité f
just a formality → une simple formalité
(= formal style) → formalité f formalities
npl (= procedures) → formalités fpl
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


no pl (of person, dress, greeting, language, ceremony etc)Förmlichkeit f
(= matter of form)Formalität f; it’s a mere formalityes ist (eine) reine Formsache or Formalität; let’s dispense with the formalitieslassen wir die Formalitäten beiseite
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[fɔːˈmælɪtɪ] nformalità f inv
it's a mere formality → è una semplice formalità
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈfoːməl) adjective
1. done etc according to a fixed and accepted way. a formal letter.
2. suitable or correct for occasions when things are done according to a fixed and accepted way. You must wear formal dress.
3. (of behaviour, attitude etc) not relaxed and friendly. formal behaviour.
4. (of language) exactly correct by grammatical etc rules but not conversational. Her English was very formal.
5. (of designs etc) precise and following a fixed pattern rather than occuring naturally. formal gardens.
ˈformally adverb
forˈmality (-ˈmӕ-) noun
1. something which is done for appearance but has little meaning. The chairman's speech was only a formality.
2. unrelaxed correctness of behaviour. His formality made him appear unfriendly.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


إجْرَاءٌ شَكْلِيّ formalita formalitet Formalität τυπικότητα formalidad muodollisuus formalité formalnost formalità 儀礼的行為 격식 formaliteit formalitet formalność formalidade формальность formalitet ความเป็นทางการ formalite bài diễn văn/hành động trịnh trọng 礼节
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
I think that even then I had an instinctive doubt whether formlessness was really better than formality. Something, it seems to me, may be contained and kept alive in formality, but in formlessness everything spills and wastes away.
All constraint and formality quickly disappeared, and the friendliest feeling succeeded.
Through him I was at once delivered from all formality, and terror, and constraint.
The hut was occupied by an old priest, and as the boy in armor pushed in, without the usual formality of knocking the old man looked up with an expression of annoyance and disapproval.
It's a mere formality," he added, with a side look at my mistress; "but the servants will accept it as even dealing between them and their betters; and, instead of hindering the investigation, they will make a point of honour of assisting it."
'Whether I shall introduce myself with the same formality,' said Mr Pluck--'whether I shall say myself that my name is Pluck, or whether I shall ask my friend Pyke (who being now regularly introduced, is competent to the office) to state for me, Mrs Nickleby, that my name is Pluck; whether I shall claim your acquaintance on the plain ground of the strong interest I take in your welfare, or whether I shall make myself known to you as the friend of Sir Mulberry Hawk-- these, Mrs Nickleby, are considerations which I leave to you to determine.'
"The fact is," Sir Percival went on, walking nervously about the room, "I want Fosco and his wife in the library, for a mere business formality, and I want you there, Laura, for a minute too." He stopped, and appeared to notice, for the first time, that we were in our walking costume.
The Militia of the Equilaterals was at once called out; and every Triangle suspected of Irregularity on reasonable grounds, was destroyed by Court Martial, without the formality of exact measurement by the Social Board.
Bingley had never met with more pleasant people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him; there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and, as to Miss Bennet, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful.
"My lord," said D'Artagnan, "your eminence sees that we wish to act with all formality and due respect; but I must warn you that we have no time to lose; open the door then, my lord, and be so good as to remember, once for all, that on the slightest attempt to escape or the faintest cry for help, our position being very critical indeed, you must not be angry with us if we go to extremities."
Before his brother, as before everyone, Vronsky addressed Anna with a certain formality, treating her as he might a very intimate friend, but it was understood that his brother knew their real relations, and they talked about Anna's going to Vronsky's estate.
You spoke of formality just now, apropos of the inquiry, you know.