• WordNet 3.6
    • adj formal refined or imposing in manner or appearance; befitting a royal court "a courtly gentleman"
    • adj formal 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"
    • adj formal (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"
    • adj formal logically deductive "formal proof"
    • adj formal characteristic of or befitting a person in authority "formal duties","an official banquet"
    • adj formal represented in simplified or symbolic form
    • n formal a gown for evening wear
    • n formal a lavish dance requiring formal attire
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The first formal rules for playing the sport of baseball required the winning team to score 21 runs
    • Formal 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. "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."
    • Formal Belonging to the form, shape, frame, external appearance, or organization of a thing.
    • Formal Dependent in form; conventional. "Still in constraint your suffering sex remains,
      Or bound in formal or in real chains."
    • Formal 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. "A cold-looking, formal garden, cut into angles and rhomboids.""She took off the formal cap that confined her hair."
    • Formal Done in due form, or with solemnity; according to regular method; not incidental, sudden or irregular; express; as, he gave his formal consent. "His obscure funeral . . . No noble rite nor formal ostentation."
    • Formal Having the form or appearance without the substance or essence; external; as, formal duty; formal worship; formal courtesy, etc.
    • Formal Sound; normal. "To make of him a formal man again."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In July 1981, a tortoise was sentenced to death for murder. Tribal elders in Kyuasini, a village in Kenya, formally condemned the tortoise because they suspected it of causing the death of six people, apparently through magic. However, because none of the villagers was prepared to risk the tortoise's wrath by carrying out the execution, it was instead chained to a tree. The tortoise was later freed after the government promised an official inquiry into the deaths.
    • formal According to form, rule, or established order; according to the rules of law or custom; systematic; regular; legal.
    • formal Characterized by or made or done in strict or undue conformity to legal or conventional rules; notably conventional.
    • formal Observing or requiring strict observance of the rules of law, custom, or etiquette; strictly ceremonious; precise: exact to affectation; punctilious.
    • formal Regular or methodical in action.
    • formal Having conformity with the rules of art; scholastic; theoretical; also, rhetorical; academical; expressed in artificial language.
    • formal Relating to form merely, not to the substance or matter; having the form or appearance without the substance or essence; external; outward: as, a formal defect; formal duty; formal worship.
    • formal Embodied in a form; personified. The allusion in the extract is to the character of the Vice who, under many aliases, was an attendant on the Devil in the old moralities. See iniquity and vice.
    • formal Pertaining to or regarding the shape and appearance of a living being; characteristic; proper; sane.
    • formal Pertaining to form, in sense 8, especially in the Aristotelian use, opposed to materiȧl; essential; express. See phrases below.
    • formal Pertaining to those elements of cognition which according to Kant have their origin in the nature of the mind itself; universal and necessary.
    • formal Implicit; not active; latent; virtual.
    • n formal A trade-name for formaldehyde.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Six bulls are killed in a formal bullfight.
    • adj Formal according to form or established mode: ceremonious, punctilious, methodical: having the form only:
    • adj Formal (Shak.) embodied in a form: having the power of making a thing what it is: essential: proper
    • ***


  • Maya Angelou
    “The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.”
  • Ray Kroc
    Ray Kroc
    “While formal schooling is an important advantage, it is not a guarantee of success nor is its absence a fatal handicap.”
  • Paul E. Gray
    Paul E. Gray
    “The most important outcome of education is to help students become independent of formal education.”
  • Jim Rohn
    “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
  • David Grayson
    David Grayson
    “Friendship is neither a formality nor a mode: it is rather a life.”
  • Mark Twain
    “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. formalis,: cf. F. formel,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. forme—L. forma, shape.


In literature:

Formal logic effects clarity of thought often at the expense of depth.
"Monophysitism Past and Present" by A. A. Luce
In a formal introduction to the main body of a discourse, or in the formal conclusion.
"The Century Handbook of Writing" by Garland Greever
Lewis bowed again, formally, and Anthony Merry answered with equal politeness and ceremony.
"The Magnificent Adventure" by Emerson Hough
His earlier questionings returned in violent protests against the emptiness of the beliefs and formalities of the Church.
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking
Formal art is always in the ascendant.
"Whitman" by John Burroughs
Gradually the old family life expanded into the state, and government became more formal.
"History of Human Society" by Frank W. Blackmar
There was an involuntary warmth in his formal courtier grace.
"The Missourian" by Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
Mrs. Herdicker, Prop., brushed aside formalities.
"In the Heart of a Fool" by William Allen White
With little use of formal rhyme and metre, Mr. Chenault abounds in delicate conceptions and artistic renditions.
"Writings in the United Amateur, 1915-1922" by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
His proposals were made to them, as is the custom in this country, and have been formally declined.
"Aurora the Magnificent" by Gertrude Hall
He could not realize that these were formal and established measures for a dance.
"Gold" by Stewart White
It would be a matter of mutual tacit consent, tempered down by formal calls enough to allay local gossip.
"When Ghost Meets Ghost" by William Frend De Morgan
Zen take the formality!
"Frigid Fracas" by Dallas McCord Reynolds
On November first, 1799, Sieyes formally surrendered all control.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
We may be sure that President Washington's receptions, every other Tuesday afternoon, were formal.
"Hero Stories from American History" by Albert F. Blaisdell
Something so formal and arrange in her air!
"The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of Jane Austen" by Jane Austen
Frau Koenig alone had not come, and her husband had had formally to excuse her.
"A Little Garrison" by Fritz von der Kyrburg
In the intervals between the formal conferences Allan visited the various wig-wams exercising his powers of persuasion.
"Glimpses of the Past" by W. O. Raymond
Amaldi murmured a few formalities and left.
"Shadows of Flames" by Amelie Rives
The king now formally requested Gunther to endeavor to move the queen from her resolve.
"On the Heights" by Berthold Auerbach

In poetry:

And letters of mere formal phrase
Were blister'd with repeated tears,
And this was not the work of days,
But had gone on for years and years!
"Shadows" by Richard Monckton Milnes Houghton
"If you address a Ghost as 'Thing!'
Or strike him with a hatchet,
He is permitted by the King
To drop all FORMAL parleying -
And then you're SURE to catch it!
"Phantasmagoria Canto II ( Hys Fyve Rules )" by Lewis Carroll
I recollected a great room. The day,
Half dead, lit faintly on the walls the pale
And sudden eyes that showed the formal play
Of woven actors in some curious tale.
"The Ivory Piece" by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley
Why should such labour'd strains
Your formal Muse engage?
I never dreamt of flame or dart,
That fired my breast or pierced my heart,
But sigh'd, "O sweet Anne Page!"
"Slender's Ghost" by William Shenstone
On life's broad plain the ploughman's conquering share
Upturned the fallow lands of truth anew,
And o'er the formal garden's trim parterre
The peasant's team a ruthless furrow drew.
"Wordsworth's Grave" by William Watson
For should there come that threatened day,
When creeds shall fade, when faith decay,
And worship shall have ceased,
Then, when all formal guides shall fail,
Mankind will in the Poet hail
A prophet and a priest.
"Poet’s Corner" by Alfred Austin

In news:

But if that is true — and it may be — how would formally deregulating the industry make the situation better.
A usually formal act of civility or respect.
Authorities have formally charged a Jefferson County man who lawmen say robbed his own employer in a disguise so bad that his co-workers thought he was playing a practical joke.
(MARQUETTE, MI) – Teachers in Marquette County are banding together to formally oppose recent cuts in state funding for K-12 budgets.
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens received a phone call last September from the NCAA, a Notice of Inquiry that served as the formal entry point into an investigation of possible violations committed by the football program.
For Alaskans of my parents' generation, visiting a museum Outside was a formal occasion.
Soldier Formally Charged in Afghanistan Killings.
One of the only major African writers who continues to live in Africa, the Somalian novelist Nuruddin Farah playfully and defiantly walks a tightrope between the exploration of ideas and the exhilaration of formal invention.
Greg is extremely proud of what he does for a living and the military encourages him to wear his dress blues to formal events.
"The more formal a party is, the less you have to wear," is what Gene Kelly allegedly said in American in Paris.
She began caring for children in her home when her older children were small, but returned to a formal classroom setting at the Montessori School in Bowling Green.
The newest class will be formally inducted in February.
New business challenges port fortitude for formalities.
The city and PGW on Wednesday issued a formal request for proposals for a broker, who will identify potential buyers.
Formally of Leavenworth, was called to be with his Lord and Savior on August 6, 2012 following a long illness.

In science:

By the theory of formal connections , one has, for suitable d, a decomposition as in (1.5) for the formal dE ∼= ⊕iLi ⊗ Mi .
Homology for irregular connections
The pair (g, F ) is called a formal distribution Lie superalgebra if g is spanned by the coefficients of all formal distributions from F .
Classification of finite simple Lie conformal superalgebras
It should be stressed that the above discussion has been conducted at the formal level, i.e. the series defining the normalizing changes of coordinates are in general only formal series.
Poincare' normal forms and simple compact Lie groups
Beyond Gödel 4.1. “Formal truth” and “provability” as formally assigned values 4.2.
Paradox regained: Life beyond Goedel's shadow
I argue further that “(Ax)|=PP F(x)” is intended to formally represent the intuitive metaassertion that “F(x) is ‘formally true’ in PP for all values of x that are expressible in PP”.
Paradox regained: Life beyond Goedel's shadow
The hope for a matrix formalism in nonperturbative string theory has not been justified in the sense that the new formalism appeared to be not very effective in solving essential problems.
String Theory or Field Theory?
The first order formalism is equivalent to the more usual second order formalism, as can be shown from the results in .
Reply to "Acausality of Massive Charged Spin 2 Fields"
Then, we observe that it is enough to know the formal germ of such a singularity, and the fact that the completion of the local ring at a smooth point of a variety is a ring of formal power series that only depends on the dimension of the variety, to obtain the bound.
On the Nagata conjecture
The formalism for the N -fold application of the transformation is also established, and these formalisms are applied for a general quadratic system (a generalized harmonic oscillator) and a quadratic system with an inverse-square interaction up to N = 2.
Generalization of the Darboux transformation and generalized harmonic oscillators
In the static case, the first-order formalism agrees with second-order formalism (using specifically the Friedrichs extension).
Dynamics in Stationary, Non-Globally Hyperbolic Spacetimes
The following theorem shows, without invoking the result of , that the first-order formalism agrees with the second order formalism when the Friedrichs extension is chosen.
Dynamics in Stationary, Non-Globally Hyperbolic Spacetimes
It is not difficult to find radiation conditions for √−∆ in a formal manner, because it is easy to see that √−∆ (√−∆u) = −∆u is formally valid.
Generalized eigenfunctions of relativistic Schroedinger operators I
Digital electrical engineering is a non-formalized theory and the aim of our concerns is that of trying a semi-formalization.
Defining the Delays of the Asynchronous Circuits
The formal moduli for Defξ is denoted H (ξ ) and there is a map of formal k-algebras ˜ξ : H (E ) −→ H (ξ ) The kernel of this map is our candidate for deformations pointing into the simple locus.
Noncommutative plane curves
Denote by ˆA(M ), ˆA+ (M ) the formal versions of A(M ), A+ (M ), i.e., algebras generated (topologically) by the same generators and relations, but with tij k = e2π ik/mij eτijk , where τij k are formal parameters.
New deformations of group algebras of Coxeter groups