What does formal mean?

Definitions for formal
ˈfɔr məlfor·mal

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word formal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ball, formal(noun)

    a lavish dance requiring formal attire

  2. dinner dress, dinner gown, formal, evening gown(adj)

    a gown for evening wear

  3. formal(adj)

    being in accord with established forms and conventions and requirements (as e.g. of formal dress)

    "pay one's formal respects"; "formal dress"; "a formal ball"; "the requirement was only formal and often ignored"; "a formal education"

  4. formal(adj)

    characteristic of or befitting a person in authority

    "formal duties"; "an official banquet"

  5. formal(adj)

    (of spoken and written language) adhering to traditional standards of correctness and without casual, contracted, and colloquial forms

    "the paper was written in formal English"

  6. conventional, formal, schematic(adj)

    represented in simplified or symbolic form

  7. formal(adj)

    logically deductive

    "formal proof"

  8. courtly, formal, stately(adj)

    refined or imposing in manner or appearance; befitting a royal court

    "a courtly gentleman"


  1. formal(Noun)


  2. formal(Noun)

    an evening gown

  3. formal(Noun)

    an event with a formal dress code

    Jenny took Sam to her Year 12 formal.

  4. formal(Adjective)

    being in accord with established forms

  5. formal(Adjective)


  6. formal(Adjective)

    relating to the form or structure of something

  7. formal(Adjective)


  8. formal(Adjective)

    Organized; well-structured and planned.

  9. Origin: From formel, from formel, from formalis, from forma; see form.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Formal(noun)

    see Methylal

  2. Formal(adj)

    belonging to the form, shape, frame, external appearance, or organization of a thing

  3. Formal(adj)

    belonging to the constitution of a thing, as distinguished from the matter composing it; having the power of making a thing what it is; constituent; essential; pertaining to or depending on the forms, so called, of the human intellect

  4. Formal(adj)

    done in due form, or with solemnity; according to regular method; not incidental, sudden or irregular; express; as, he gave his formal consent

  5. Formal(adj)

    devoted to, or done in accordance with, forms or rules; punctilious; regular; orderly; methodical; of a prescribed form; exact; prim; stiff; ceremonious; as, a man formal in his dress, his gait, his conversation

  6. Formal(adj)

    having the form or appearance without the substance or essence; external; as, formal duty; formal worship; formal courtesy, etc

  7. Formal(adj)

    dependent in form; conventional

  8. Formal(adj)

    sound; normal

  9. Origin: [L. formic + alcohol.]


  1. Formal

    Formal Hall or Formal Meal is the meal held at some of the oldest, universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland at which students dress in formal attire and often gowns to dine. These are held commonly in the colleges of, for examples, Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, Durham and St Andrews, as well as the University of London, the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and Trinity College, Toronto. In a number of red brick universities, some halls such as those in at Manchester, Bristol and Exeter also practise similar traditions in order to increase interaction between academics and students, and to enrich the students' overall learning experience. The nature of Formals varies widely between the colleges and halls that hold them. In some colleges, Formals may be held every night, and are simply a second sitting of hall at which gowns are worn and grace is read. In other colleges, Formals may be special events to which guests from outside the college are frequently invited, often with themes and associated ents or "bops". In between these two extremes fall the great majority of colleges.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'formal' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1597

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'formal' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2780

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'formal' in Adjectives Frequency: #199

How to pronounce formal?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say formal in sign language?

  1. formal


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of formal in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of formal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of formal in a Sentence

  1. Di Maio:

    We'll see in the next few days if there are any formal bids.

  2. Bill George:

    I would say something formal, like, we don't discuss our acquisition plans.

  3. Unknown:

    Formal education will earn you a living, self-education make you a fortune.

  4. Richard Spencer:

    I need a formal order to act, i do not interpret (tweets) as a formal order.

  5. Jim Rohn:

    Formal education will make you a living self-education will make you a fortune.

Images & Illustrations of formal

  1. formalformalformalformalformal

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Translations for formal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"formal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 11 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/formal>.

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