noun (plural formalities)[mass noun]
- 1The rigid observance of convention or etiquette: the formality of life in an English public schoolMore 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 handsMore example sentences
ceremony, ceremoniousness, ritual, conventionality, red tape, protocol, decorum; stateliness, courtliness, solemnity, etiquettealoofness, reserve, remoteness, detachment, unapproachability, stand-offishness; stiffness, primness, stuffiness, staidness, correctness, decorum, punctiliousness, inflexibility; reticence, taciturnity; antisocial nature
- 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.
- 1.2 [count noun] (usually formalities) A thing that is done simply to comply with convention, regulations, or custom: legal formalitiesMore 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?
- 1.3 (a formality) Something done or happening as a matter of course and without question: promotion looks a formalityMore 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.
mid 16th century (in the sense 'accordance with legal rules or conventions'): from French formalité or medieval Latin formalitas, from formalis (see formal).