What does formality mean?

Definitions for formality
fɔrˈmæl ɪ tifor·mal·i·ty

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. formality, formalities(noun)

    a requirement of etiquette or custom

    "a mere formality"

  2. formality, formalness(noun)

    a manner that strictly observes all forms and ceremonies

    "the formality of his voice made the others pay him close attention"

  3. formality(noun)

    compliance with formal rules

    "courtroom formality"


  1. formality(Noun)

    The state of being formal.

  2. formality(Noun)

    Something said or done as a matter of form.

  3. formality(Noun)

    A customary ritual without new or unique meaning.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Formality(noun)

    the condition or quality of being formal, strictly ceremonious, precise, etc

  2. Formality(noun)

    form without substance

  3. Formality(noun)

    compliance with formal or conventional rules; ceremony; conventionality

  4. Formality(noun)

    an established order; conventional rule of procedure; usual method; habitual mode

  5. Formality(noun)

    the dress prescribed for any body of men, academical, municipal, or sacerdotal

  6. Formality(noun)

    that which is formal; the formal part

  7. Formality(noun)

    the quality which makes a thing what it is; essence

  8. Formality(noun)

    the manner in which a thing is conceived or constituted by an act of human thinking; the result of such an act; as, animality and rationality are formalities

  9. Origin: [Cf. F. formalit.]


  1. Formality

    Utterances, conceptually similar to a ritual although typically secular and less involved. A formality may be as simple as a handshake upon making new acquaintainces in Western culture to the carefully defined procedure of bows, handshakes, formal greetings, and business-card exchanges that may mark two businessmen being introduced in Japan. In legal and diplomatic circles, formalities include such matters as greeting an arriving head of state with the appropriate national anthem. Cultures and groups within cultures often have varying degrees of formality which can often prove a source of frustration or unintentional insult when people of different expectations or preferences interact. Those from relatively informal backgrounds may find formality to be empty and hypocritical, or unnecessarily demanding. Those from relatively formal backgrounds may find informal cultures hard to deal with, as their carefully refined and nuanced behaviors go completely unnoticed. The difference between formality and politeness is often a point of confusion for those from relatively informal cultures. On the other hand, those who have been brought up in relatively formal circumstances often experience discomfort and even, over the long-term, disenchantment, in less formal circumstances.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of formality in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of formality in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of formality in a Sentence

  1. David Grayson:

    Friendship is neither a formality nor a mode it is rather a life.

  2. Emeasoba George:

    To say that you love someone is so easy, that's why it's now a formality. Whereas, to prove it is not often so easy. Oh! Yes, that's just a reality.

  3. Emeasoba George:

    To say that one loves somebody else is so easy, that's why it's now a formality. Whereas, to prove it is not often so easy. Oh! Yes, that's just a reality.

  4. Emeasoba George:

    To say that one loves someone else is so easy to say. In fact, that is why it is now a formality. But, to prove it (Love) is not often so easy. Oh! yes, that is just a reality. ~Emeasoba George

  5. Anuj Somany:

    The value of most people's LIKEs on Fb is ZERO as they cast it for mere formality or often for seeking some sort of selfish opportunity and mean nothing else with it, so getting support from such netizens makes the worth of somebody's post as NIL

Images & Illustrations of formality

  1. formalityformalityformality

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for formality

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for formality »


Find a translation for the formality definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • Chinese - Simplified 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • Chinese - Traditional 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Spanish Español (Spanish)
  • Japanese 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Portuguese Português (Portuguese)
  • German Deutsch (German)
  • Arabic العربية (Arabic)
  • French Français (French)
  • Russian Русский (Russian)
  • Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • Korean 한국어 (Korean)
  • Hebrew עברית (Hebrew)
  • Ukrainian Український (Ukrainian)
  • Urdu اردو (Urdu)
  • Hungarian Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Hindi मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesian Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italian Italiano (Italian)
  • Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Turkish Türkçe (Turkish)
  • Telugu తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • Thai ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Vietnamese Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Czech Čeština (Czech)
  • Polish Polski (Polish)
  • Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Romanian Românește (Romanian)
  • Dutch Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Greek Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latin Latinum (Latin)
  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
  • Persian فارسی (Persian)
  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • Armenian հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norwegian Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English English (English)

Discuss these formality definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"formality." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 25 Mar. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/formality>.

Are we missing a good definition for formality? Don't keep it to yourself...

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for formality:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.