Definition of formality in English:

formality

Line breaks: for|mal¦ity
Pronunciation: /fɔːˈmalɪti
 
/

noun (plural formalities)

[mass noun]
1The rigid observance of convention or etiquette: the formality of life in an English public school
More example sentences
  • For Vera and her family, tea consoles; for the Wells and their set, it's a ceremony, observed like everything else, with rigid formality.
  • They were also the evolutionary years that bridged the gap between the rigid formality of the Edwardian styles and the ultimate changes that led to the knee-length dresses of 1926.
  • There are no traditional rules or rigid formality or fairy tale settings involving tormented love between a man and woman.
1.1Strictly conventional behaviour: with disconcerting formality the brothers shook hands
More example sentences
  • Shirley was always disturbed by the formality he displayed in front of her brother, though she said nothing of it.
  • She stood with a rigid formality, but her eyes were vacant and her lips moved silently.
  • As a beginning teacher, I cultivated an ethos of formality and distance.
Synonyms
1.2 [count noun] (usually formalities) A thing that is done simply to comply with convention, regulations, or custom: legal formalities
More example sentences
  • In the past, customs regulations and formalities were cumbersome and this resulted in freight delays.
  • The bureaucratic red tape and formalities that one has to go through is the source of frustration to everyone who lives here.
  • Why all the formalities and petty regulations, if one is supposed to become free?
Synonyms
official procedure, rule, regulation, convention, ritual, custom, matter of form, formal gesture; bureaucracy, red tape, paperwork, form, punctilio, protocol
1.3 (a formality) Something done or happening as a matter of course and without question: promotion looks a formality
More example sentences
  • The matter was only a formality for the members at the UDC as they are fully refunded by the Department of the Environment.
  • The question was merely a formality; the answer was obvious.
  • It was, in my case, mainly a formality, but a formality that raised important questions that I promised myself I would revisit someday.
Synonyms
routine, routine practice, normal procedurematter of course, foregone conclusion, inevitability, certainty, racing certainty
informal sure thing

Origin

mid 16th century (in the sense 'accordance with legal rules or conventions'): from French formalité or medieval Latin formalitas, from formalis (see formal).

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