Definition of formalize in US English:


(British formalise)


[with object]
  • 1Give (something) legal or formal status.

    • ‘That local authorities seek to formalise such choices shows their curious understanding of democratic engagement, as complicating, regulating and ratifying simple day-to-day decisions.’
    • ‘Morton agrees that parents should formalise arrangements with a solicitor.’
    • ‘Mechanisms for formalizing occupation rights were specified in twentieth century legal codes and the 1967 constitution, which recognized the right of every citizen to a plot of land.’
    • ‘The deal, which was signed last Friday, formalized the four parties' plan to form a strategic alliance that they entered into under a memorandum of understanding last October.’
    • ‘The civil union legislation exists because the Marriage Act as it was - the only basis to formalise the legal status of relationships - was vulnerable to human rights complaints.’
    • ‘A legal search is under way to formalise ownership of the property, which was built in 1806 by Pierce Barron of Faha to help educate the poor of the parish.’
    • ‘Besides formalizing the legal equality of women, such a ruling could help fortify the resolve of police who must invariably come to the women's aid and repel acts of aggression.’
    • ‘I recognise that the legal action we took in September in order to formalise our agreement with Tracy created an unfortunate and regrettable public dispute.’
    • ‘For this group within the Bank, RLS could help to authorize and formalize their own methods and strategies.’
    • ‘This also necessitated formalising aspects of our collaboration with various legal documents regarding branding and ownership.’
    • ‘This can grow into a serious authorship dispute, especially if the authorship issues are not formalized before submission.’
    • ‘Hence, the third proposal: Take records seriously and implement certification systems to formalize them, taking special notice of the promises you must make to succeed.’
    • ‘In August, Pin and Pornsanong signed a memorandum formalizing the deal.’
    • ‘A letter of understanding dated 27th October 1998 was signed between the company and a third party and on 19th October 1999 a deed of assignment was signed to formalise this letter of understanding.’
    • ‘Approving these minutes formalizes the business of these on-site and telephone meetings.’
    • ‘It would have been helpful if the patient had formalized those wishes by signing an advance directive.’
    • ‘But I think for that reason, as they both get older, they will want to formalize their marriage.’
    • ‘It is very important to understand that the rituals and ceremonies carried out must be recognised and accepted by the community concerned as being the proper ones for formalising a marriage.’
    • ‘In a move further designed to encourage false testimony, the camp authorities formalised a system of ‘rewards’.’
    • ‘Gradually, nurses gained status as training programs were formalized and hospitals were transformed into places of healing.’
    ratify, endorse, confirm, approve, agree to, accept, consent to, assent to, affirm, authorize, make valid, sanction, recognize, legalize, legitimize, warrant, license, certify
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Give (something) a definite structure or shape.
      ‘we became able to formalize our thoughts’
      • ‘An even halfway adept filmmaker would interpret and shape such footage, formalize and comment upon it.’