Definition of formidable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːmɪdəb(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /fəˈmɪdəb(ə)l/


Inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable: a formidable opponent
More example sentences
  • Whoever it was, they have assembled a formidable array of talent and spent a lot of money.
  • Pittodrie presently holds one of the most formidable fear factors in the Premierleague.
  • What we do know is that she has a formidable mind, powerful admirers and a yellow plastic digger on her desk.
intimidating, forbidding, redoubtable, daunting, alarming, frightening, terrifying, petrifying, horrifying, chilling, disturbing, disquieting, dreadful, brooding, awesome, fearsome, ominous, foreboding, sinister, menacing, mean-looking, threatening, dangerous
informal spooky, scary, creepy
archaic direful, bodeful
onerous, arduous, taxing, difficult, hard, heavy, laborious, burdensome, strenuous, vigorous, back-breaking, stiff, uphill, relentless, Herculean, monumental, colossal;
demanding, trying, tough, challenging, exacting, overwhelming;
exhausting, wearying, fatiguing, tiring, punishing, gruelling, grinding
informal killing, no picnic
British informal knackering
rare toilsome, exigent
capable, able, proficient, adept, adroit, accomplished;
impressive, strong, powerful, mighty, terrific, tremendous, great, redoubtable, indomitable, invincible;
seasoned, skilful, skilled, gifted, talented, masterly, virtuoso, expert, knowledgeable, qualified, trained;
efficient, good, excellent, brilliant, outstanding, first-class, first-rate
informal mean, wicked, deadly, nifty, crack, ace, stellar, wizard, magic
North American informal crackerjack, badass
vulgar slang shit-hot
archaic or humorous compleat
rare habile


There are two possible pronunciations of formidable: one with the stress on the for- and the other with the stress on the -mid-. The second pronunciation is now common in British English, but the traditional pronunciation places the stress on the first syllable. Both pronunciations are acceptable in modern standard English.



Example sentences
  • Phillips recreates each of the great eras of wine consumption, with their very different values and palates, and vividly conveys the sheer formidableness of much that has been drunk and enjoyed.
  • The expansion of the domestic markets and the very large-scale integration effected by technology-savvy institutions give Mumbai a formidableness that other cities in Asia and Australia may envy.
  • Immediately this musty record of man's land lust assumes the formidableness of a battle - the quick struggling with the dust.


Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːmɪdəb(ə)li/
Pronunciation: /fəˈmɪdəb(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Okay, there are ‘free’ appetisers, a micro-course, coffee and petits fours, but with about 300 per cent mark-up on wine, you're contemplating a formidably expensive treat.
  • It's ridiculous that this President, who has proven himself a formidably talented debater, is scared to answer questions in anything remotely resembling an unpredictable environment.
  • But among the educated middle classes in India the knowledge of Shakespeare is formidably good, alarming really, because you find people who know the text as well as you do.


Late Middle English: from French, or from Latin formidabilis, from formidare 'to fear'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: for¦mid|able

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