Definition of formality in English:

formality

noun

  • 1The rigid observance of rules of convention or etiquette.

    ‘he retained the formality of his social background’
    • ‘Undoubtedly the human animal in his/her social interactions feels safer when a certain degree of formality is observed.’
    • ‘However, all are divided into different levels of formality depending on the social status of the person being addressed.’
    • ‘However, the general pattern of double dependence on social status and formality is maintained.’
    • ‘Rigid self-control went hand-in-hand with a precise and exacting formality.’
    • ‘However, such benefits may come at a cost as a rigid formality may conflict with deeply held professional values such as autonomy, solidarity, flexibility, and a belief in tacit knowledge.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘That was the last era where there were rules of etiquette, when there was still an element of formality,’ Maggie says.’
    • ‘Here, one must maintain discipline, proper etiquette, and formality.’
    • ‘There are no traditional rules or rigid formality or fairy tale settings involving tormented love between a man and woman.’
    • ‘He travels frequently to remote places to absorb, notate and record rare indigenous musics, then transform them for the manicured formality of the Western concert hall.’
    • ‘‘We want to break down the formality, but retain high standards,’ Sankey explains.’
    • ‘Do we not sense a paradox here, in such procedural sameness and rigid formality applied to nature's bounteous diversity?’
    • ‘Etiquette and formality are the antiquated attributes that make her readers swoon.’
    • ‘On the other hand, expressions must have a minimal formality in order to be understandable at all.’
    • ‘Renowned for her light-hearted disregard of formality, kicking off her shoes and chewing gum at meetings, she is reputed to have removed her wig to break the tension during key meetings.’
    • ‘Social interaction is governed by norms emphasizing respect and formality and marking age, gender, status, and class differences.’
    • ‘A new sweetness pervades daily life and replaces the coldness and formality of familial relationships under aristocracy.’
    • ‘Country house hotels promote this informal formality by eschewing hotel conventions such as reception desks and by ensuring that all drinks, meals and sundries are included in the per-night fee.’
    • ‘Michael did not suffer fools gladly and could seem aloof and distant at times, but this was his rather old-world formality.’
    • ‘For Vera and her family, tea consoles; for the Wells and their set, it's a ceremony, observed like everything else, with rigid formality.’
    1. 1.1 Stiffness of behavior or style.
      ‘with disconcerting formality the brothers shook hands’
      • ‘He bowed to her, in the distant formality of the rich, and then laughed as his hand caught on his sword, spoiling the movement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She didn't like that - the way his sudden formality put distance between them.’
      ceremony, ceremoniousness, ritual, conventionality, red tape, protocol, decorum
      aloofness, reserve, remoteness, detachment, unapproachability, stand-offishness
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2usually formalities A thing that is done simply to comply with requirements of etiquette, regulations, or custom.
      ‘legal formalities’
      • ‘The details of the patent itself are being kept a closely guarded secret, pending completion of the legal formalities.’
      • ‘However, he has to comply with certain formalities before he is entitled to enforce this right.’
      • ‘Refreshments were also served following the formalities of the evening.’
      • ‘It was a clinical but not brutal performance, one in which Hewitt did everything right, right down to the formalities at the end of the match.’
      • ‘The formalities take just moments, and you are whisked aboard to be greeted by a cabin steward ready to take your hand luggage and show you to your suite.’
      • ‘However, the formalities were completed after a long wait of over nine hours at 7 on Sunday morning.’
      • ‘Legal formalities in accident cases should be simplified so that people will not turn away.’
      • ‘In the past, customs regulations and formalities were cumbersome and this resulted in freight delays.’
      • ‘Bob and Vic have not completed the entry paperwork formalities and have not registered as required.’
      • ‘Once I complete the formalities in Florida, I think I'll stay back a day or two and enjoy the weather.’
      • ‘They may hold conventions, but these are mostly formalities to endorse a decision that the party bosses have made.’
      • ‘Why all the formalities and petty regulations, if one is supposed to become free?’
      • ‘They have never had to follow the rules and formalities normally required of border crossers.’
      • ‘However, it would not be until the paper works and formalities are completed that these boats are sent home.’
      • ‘The bureaucratic red tape and formalities that one has to go through is the source of frustration to everyone who lives here.’
      • ‘The clinics also did not fulfil the formalities required under the PNDT Act.’
      • ‘After the formalities there was free admission to some of the rides with the mayor and his official party eagerly followed by local children.’
      • ‘Only after completing all these formalities can the supplier sell his goods to the industries at the CSEZ.’
      • ‘By the time we cleared immigration and customs formalities and took a van to Makkah it was past midnight.’
      • ‘Was it simply the pressure to follow the formalities of the UN road?’
      official procedure, rule, regulation, convention, ritual, custom, matter of form, formal gesture
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3a formality Something that is done as a matter of course and without question; an inevitability.
      ‘her saying no was just a formality, and both of them knew it’
      • ‘That Iceland's team has been hewn from a nation of just 290,000 people is unlikely to encourage Vogts, who has proved already that overcoming the might of a small fishing community is no formality.’
      • ‘The matter was only a formality for the members at the UDC as they are fully refunded by the Department of the Environment.’
      • ‘The family drops by often; so much so, in fact, that knocking on the door is a formality they no longer observe.’
      • ‘The question was merely a formality; the answer was obvious.’
      • ‘And typically, these committee questionnaires are really a formality.’
      • ‘While this move was presented by Swapo as a procedural formality, observers agreed that it reflected strong internal differences.’
      • ‘This nomination was seen as a formality by observers.’
      • ‘It was, in my case, mainly a formality, but a formality that raised important questions that I promised myself I would revisit someday.’
      routine, routine practice, normal procedure
      matter of course, foregone conclusion, inevitability, certainty, racing certainty
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

formality

/fôrˈmalədē//fɔrˈmælədi/