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1done in accordance with rules of convention or etiquette; suitable for or constituting an official or important situation or occasion:a formal dinner party (of a person or their manner) prim or stiff. of or denoting a style of writing or public speaking characterized by more elaborate grammatical structures and more conservative and technical vocabulary. (especially of a house or garden) arranged in a regular, classical, and symmetrical manner. 2officially sanctioned or recognized:a formal complaint having a conventionally recognized form, structure, or set of rules:he had little formal education 3of or concerned with outward form or appearance, especially as distinct from content or matter:I don’t know enough about art to appreciate the purely formal qualities having the form or appearance without the spirit:his sacrifice will be more formal than real of or relating to linguistic or logical form as opposed to function or meaning.
noun North American
an occasion on which evening dress is worn.