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 (fôr′mĭ-də-bəl, fôr-mĭd′ə-)
1. Arousing fear, dread, or alarm: the formidable prospect of major surgery.
2. Inspiring awe, admiration, or wonder: "A woman of formidable intelligence and tenacity, [she] prides herself on being independent-minded" (Nan Levinson).
3. Difficult to undertake, surmount, or defeat: a formidable challenge; a formidable opponent.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin formīdābilis, from formīdāre, to fear, from formīdō, fear.]

for′mi·da·bil′i·ty, for′mi·da·ble·ness n.
for′mi·da·bly adv.
Usage Note: Traditionally formidable has been pronounced with stress on the first syllable, but recently the pronunciation with stress on the second syllable, which is a common variant in British English, has seen increasing use in American English. However, the traditional pronunciation is still preferred by a large majority of the Usage Panel. In our 2008 survey, 73 percent favored the pronunciation with stress on the first syllable, and 27 percent favored the other pronunciation. Both pronunciations are acceptable, however.
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References in classic literature ?
Magnified by its lift against the sky and by the soldier's testifying sense of the formidableness of a near enemy, the group appeared of heroic, almost colossal, size.
Immediately this musty record of man's land lust assumes the formidableness of a battle--the quick struggling with the dust.
60) The formidableness of the defenses would give pause to any prudent commander, but did not--as Grant pointed out--dictate evacuation of the beachhead.