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a. Relating to or involving outward form or structure, often in contrast to content or meaning.
b. Being or relating to essential form or constitution: a formal principle.
2. Following or being in accord with accepted or prescribed forms, conventions, or regulations: had little formal education; went to a formal party.
a. Characterized by strict or meticulous observation of forms; methodical: very formal in their business transactions.
b. Stiffly ceremonious: a formal greeting.
4. Characterized by technical or polysyllabic vocabulary, complex sentence structure, and explicit transitions; not colloquial or informal: formal discourse.
5. Having the outward appearance but lacking in substance: a formal requirement that is usually ignored.
Something, such as a gown or social affair, that is formal in nature.

[Middle English, from Latin fōrmālis, from fōrma, shape.]

for′mal·ly adv.
for′mal·ness n.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.formalness - 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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
With just the right degree of suave formalness, monk straps are not fussy about maintenance.
Third, aside from the written agreement's formalness and legal provisions, it should contain certain provisions and terms that are detailed enough to be useful in the event of a dispute.
In other words, the source of support included cohort, faculty, self-help, and no support, and each of these sources could be dimensionalized according to formalness, frequency, timing, and type.