Definition of formidable in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfôrmədəb(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /fərˈmidəb(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, daunting, disturbing, alarming, frightening, disquieting, brooding, awesome, fearsome, ominous, foreboding, sinister, menacing, threatening, dangerous
onerous, arduous, taxing, difficult, hard, heavy, laborious, burdensome, strenuous, back-breaking, uphill, Herculean, monumental, colossal;
demanding, tough, challenging, exacting
formal exigent
archaic toilsome
capable, able, proficient, adept, adroit, accomplished, seasoned, skillful, skilled, gifted, talented, masterly, virtuoso, expert, knowledgeable, qualified;
impressive, powerful, mighty, terrific, tremendous, great, complete, redoubtable
informal mean, wicked, deadly, nifty, crack, ace, magic, crackerjack


The preferred pronunciation of formidable is with the stress on for-, although the stress is sometimes heard on the second syllable (in Britain more than in the US).



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: /ˈfôrmədəblē/ Pronunciation: /fərˈmidəblē/ Pronunciation: /fôrˈmidəblē/
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

Syllabification: for·mi·da·ble

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words