Formal Form"al (f[^o]rm"al), a. [L. formalis: cf. F. formel.] 1. Belonging to the form, shape, frame, external appearance, or organization of a thing. [1913 Webster]

2. 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. [1913 Webster]

Of [the sounds represented by] letters, the material part is breath and voice; the formal is constituted by the motion and figure of the organs of speech. --Holder. [1913 Webster]

3. Done in due form, or with solemnity; according to regular method; not incidental, sudden or irregular; express; as, he gave his formal consent. [1913 Webster]

His obscure funeral . . . No noble rite nor formal ostentation. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. 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. [1913 Webster]

A cold-looking, formal garden, cut into angles and rhomboids. --W. Irwing. [1913 Webster]

She took off the formal cap that confined her hair. --Hawthorne. [1913 Webster]

5. Having the form or appearance without the substance or essence; external; as, formal duty; formal worship; formal courtesy, etc. [1913 Webster]

6. Dependent in form; conventional. [1913 Webster]

Still in constraint your suffering sex remains, Or bound in formal or in real chains. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

7. Sound; normal. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

To make of him a formal man again. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

{Formal cause}. See under {Cause}.

Syn: Precise; punctilious; stiff; starched; affected; ritual; ceremonial; external; outward.

Usage: {Formal}, {Ceremonious}. When applied to things, these words usually denote a mere accordance with the rules of form or ceremony; as, to make a formal call; to take a ceremonious leave. When applied to a person or his manners, they are used in a bad sense; a person being called formal who shapes himself too much by some pattern or set form, and ceremonious when he lays too much stress on the conventional laws of social intercourse. Formal manners render a man stiff or ridiculous; a ceremonious carriage puts a stop to the ease and freedom of social intercourse. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • formal — for‧mal [ˈfɔːml ǁ ˈfɔːr ] adjective done or given officially and publicly: • The companies said they expect to sign a formal agreement before year s end. • No formal announcement has yet been made. • The British authorities have decided to… …   Financial and business terms

  • formal — adjetivo 1. De la forma: requisito formal, análisis formal. 2. Que cumple con su palabra, obligaciones o compromisos: Es un hombre formal, de palabra, puedes confiar en él. Es un muchacho formal, serio y responsable. Es una empresa formal, no… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • formal — for·mal adj 1: relating to or involving outward form, structure, or arrangement rather than content a formal defect in the pleadings 2: requiring special or established solemnities or formalities esp. in order to be effective or valid under the… …   Law dictionary

  • formal — FORMÁL, Ă, formali, e, adj. 1. Privitor la formă, care ţine de formă, de aparenţă. ♦ (Adverbial) în aparenţă. 2. Formulat precis; categoric, expres. 3. Pătruns de formalism; făcut de formă (7). 4. (Despre unele acte juridice) Care necesită… …   Dicționar Român

  • formal — [fôr′məl] adj. [ME < L formalis < forma, FORM] 1. of external form or structure, rather than nature or content 2. of the internal form; relating to the intrinsic or essential character or nature 3. of or according to prescribed or fixed… …   English World dictionary

  • formal — (Del lat. formālis). 1. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a la forma, por contraposición a esencial. 2. Que tiene formalidad. 3. Dicho de una persona: Seria, amiga de la verdad y enemiga de chanzas. 4. Expreso, preciso, determinado. ☛ V. acto formal …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • formal — (adj.) late 14c., from O.Fr. formel (13c.) and directly from L. formalis, from forma (see FORM (Cf. form)). As a noun, c.1600 (pl.) things that are formal; as a short way to say formal dance, recorded by 1906, U.S. college students …   Etymology dictionary

  • formal — Adj std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. fōrmālis, zu l. fōrma Form . Aus der gleichen Grundlage über das Französische formell. Eine Substantivierung in Formalie, Abstrakta in Formalismus, Formalität; Täterbezeichnung: Formalist; Verb:… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • formal — [adj1] established, orderly academic, approved, ceremonial, ceremonialistic, ceremonious, confirmed, conventional, decorous, directed, explicit, express, fixed, formalistic, lawful, legal, methodical, official, precise, prescribed, pro forma,… …   New thesaurus

  • formal — Adj. (Mittelstufe) die äußere Form betreffend Beispiele: Wir hatten viele formale Probleme zu bewältigen. Das Referat ist formal einwandfrei …   Extremes Deutsch

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