(noun, adjective)


1. 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

Similar word(s): conventional, ceremonial, ceremonious, conventional, dress, nominal, titular, positive, prescribed, perfunctory, semiformal, buckram, starchy, stiff, formal

2. characteristic of or befitting a person in authority

- formal duties

Similar word(s): official

3. (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

Similar word(s): formal, literary, rhetorical

4. represented in simplified or symbolic form

Similar word(s): nonrepresentational, conventional, schematic

5. logically deductive

- formal proof

Similar word(s): logical

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

Similar word(s): dignified, courtly, stately

Sentences with formal as an adjective:

- She spoke formal English, without any dialect.

- I'd like to make a formal complaint.

- Formal linguistics ignores the vocabulary of languages and focuses solely on their grammar.

- The formal stage is a critical part of any child's development.

- Formal wear must be worn at my wedding!

- When they became a formal club the rowers built a small boathouse.

- Formal series are defined without any reference to convergence.


1. a lavish dance requiring formal attire

Similar word(s): ball

Definition categories: event, dance

2. a gown for evening wear

Definition categories: man–made, eveningwear, formalwear, gown

Sentences with formal as a noun:

- Jenny took Sam to her Year 12 formal.