Definition of formally in English:


Line breaks: for|mal¦ly
Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːməli


  • 1In accordance with convention or etiquette: he was formally attired
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    • He apologised for not wearing a suit, but quickly made it clear that he was more formally attired than his normal dress of a T-shirt.
    • Paired with a tie, a pocket square tends to make a man look more formally attired.
    • You were rather formally attired, wearing a velvet dress that would have been appropriate for a concert stage.
  • 2Officially: the Mayor will formally open the new Railway Centre
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    • The Commission said that, of the 19 alleged breaches, a case had been formally opened for 14 and five were still at the enquiries stage.
    • Early in 1990, our institute formally opened to foreign volunteers.
    • The building will not formally be opened for another few weeks but the organisers of last night's premiere managed to hire it out for the occasion.
  • 3 [sentence adverb] In outward form or appearance: formally, ministers are responsible to the monarch
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    • The decision to dissolve Parliament or appoint Cabinet ministers is formally exercised by the monarch, who acts on the Prime Minister's advice.
    • On the other hand, the statute may upon its true construction merely require an act which appears formally valid and has not been quashed by judicial review.
  • 3.1In terms of form or structure: formally complex types of text
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    • Sophocles' play was for Aristotle an exemplary tragedy, both formally, in terms of unity of action, and in its tragic story.
    • In each of the 12 sonatas the first movement is the more formally complex and more classical of the two.
    • The permanent element, with its symbolic entrance bridge and pylon, proclaimed itself structurally and formally by a group of six roof towers.

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