Definition of formation in English:

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Pronunciation: /fôrˈmāSH(ə)n/


1The action of forming or process of being formed: the formation of the Great Rift Valley
More example sentences
  • The creative process of formation was more important than the production of pictures.
  • Firstly, the process of government formation is going to be dominated by three factors.
  • During this time the molecular processes of memory formation which underlie addiction are accelerated.
emergence, coming into being, genesis, development, evolution, shaping, origination
establishment, setting up, start, initiation, institution, foundation, inception, creation, inauguration, launch, flotation
2A structure or arrangement of something: a cloud formation
More example sentences
  • Building on the tactics of skirmishers, open-order tactics possessed only loose tactical formations.
  • They were arrayed in a circular formation, guarding something within.
  • These are crystal formations with structured spaces or pores in them.
configuration, arrangement, pattern, array, alignment, positioning, disposition, order
2.1A formal arrangement of aircraft in flight or troops: a battle formation the helicopters hovered overhead in formation
More example sentences
  • The 12 aircraft turned east in formation and descended to 5,000 feet.
  • Aircraft flying in formation normally maintain equal distances from one another.
  • The troops then marched in formation to the gate and the camp was handed over to a contingent of troops from Ghana.
2.2 Geology An assemblage of rocks or series of strata having some common characteristic.
Example sentences
  • Using analogous colors would have broken down the cohesive whole into smaller but related parts like strata in a rock formation.
  • Why, then, is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?
  • Pyroclastic rocks are preserved in nearly every limestone and sandstone formation of the Hungarian Palaeogene Basin.



Pronunciation: /-SHənl/
Example sentences
  • ‘To provide for the common defense’ is one of the formational principles of America.
  • The social formational power, over 75 years, of the song-dedication formula, in compensating what Thompson described as the ‘non-reciprocal intimacy’ of electronic media, is incalculable.
  • A resulting unexpected problem was that because the early practice of abilities was formational, students did not have as clear of a picture of where they stood with grades as they would have liked.


Late Middle English: from Latin formation-, from formare 'to form' (see form).

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Syllabification: for·ma·tion

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