Definition of formation in US English:



  • 1The action of forming or process of being formed.

    ‘the formation of the Great Rift Valley’
    • ‘During this time the molecular processes of memory formation which underlie addiction are accelerated.’
    • ‘Amyloid fibril formation generally is a result of alteration of the native conformation.’
    • ‘Firstly, the process of government formation is going to be dominated by three factors.’
    • ‘Currently there is much interest in spiritual disciplines and the process of spiritual formation.’
    • ‘The creative process of formation was more important than the production of pictures.’
    • ‘They haven't been consulted by the Government during the process of policy formation.’
    • ‘It's an important ballast in the process of policy formation, even if can be annoying for the politicals.’
    • ‘Amyloid fibril formation depends on a partial unfolding of the native protein.’
    • ‘The driving force behind the aesthetics of modularity is a transformation in the geometry of class, the shift from a national to a global process of class formation.’
    • ‘To make the best use of them, continuous and intensive research needs to be undertaken into the form of Malayalam alphabets, formation of the words and the construction of sentences.’
    • ‘Pore formation is promoted by an increased likelihood of transmembrane water defects in the presence of an external electric field.’
    • ‘One way to induce lateral root formation is by the application of IAA.’
    • ‘Excessive alcohol intake inhibits bone formation, possibly by a direct toxic effect on osteoblasts.’
    • ‘As we found, positive potential on the side of compound addition facilitates pore formation.’
    • ‘He said the process of formation of committees for the function had been almost been completed.’
    • ‘Keep your limb elevated as much as possible to prevent blood clot formation.’
    • ‘Value formation is an interactive process, and the media is an essential vehicle for that.’
    • ‘The simultaneous occurrence of random aggregation and amyloid fibril formation has been observed before.’
    • ‘Serotonin is stored in platelets and its release stimulates thrombus formation.’
    • ‘Our data are consistent with these studies and give further evidence that bone formation is a complex process, which is not initiated or regulated by a single factor.’
    emergence, coming into being, genesis, development, evolution, origination, shaping, generation
    establishment, setting up, start, getting going, initiation, institution, founding, foundation, inception, creation, inauguration, organization, building, construction, installation, planting
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  • 2A structure or arrangement of something.

    ‘a cloud formation’
    • ‘In big towns and urban-type rural centers, there should be several such formations.’
    • ‘The granulomatous pattern showed a formation of multiple granulomata with various degrees of inflammatory cell infiltration.’
    • ‘A variety of techniques were used to assist them in discovering the new formations.’
    • ‘The key is to be able to spot the formation of the patterns as they are developing.’
    • ‘These are crystal formations with structured spaces or pores in them.’
    • ‘Building on the tactics of skirmishers, open-order tactics possessed only loose tactical formations.’
    • ‘You should use either the box formation or the diamond formation.’
    • ‘Oh, yeah, there are also some weird cloud formations and a couple of people get sucked into the sky.’
    • ‘They were arrayed in a circular formation, guarding something within.’
    • ‘I have seen them swimming in long lines and sometimes in giant circular formations.’
    • ‘Transformation, however, is much more than just new equipment or even new formations.’
    configuration, arrangement, pattern, array, alignment, positioning, disposition, order, ordering, organization, design, marshalling, grouping, layout, format
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  • 3A formal arrangement of aircraft in flight or troops.

    ‘a battle formation’
    ‘the helicopters hovered overhead in formation’
    • ‘Who is the right person in our tactical formations to execute Sun Tzu's treatises?’
    • ‘There is no force in the world that would have stopped our heavy formations.’
    • ‘The formations were understaffed even though the Soviet side had more tanks and planes.’
    • ‘Aircraft flying in formation normally maintain equal distances from one another.’
    • ‘On screen, several modern aircraft were flying in formation.’
    • ‘The latter ferreted out fighter and weather opposition ahead of the huge bomber formations.’
    • ‘The type of commands that can be issued vary from basic movement orders to the tactical formation of your squad.’
    • ‘They would then wheel and turn back, still in formation like aircraft, fly back, make another curve and land on the terrace.’
    • ‘For example, the circular formation used during World War II by carrier task forces was first developed during an interwar wargame.’
    • ‘One day we were in a position in the formation where it was logical for the copilot to fly the bomb run.’
    • ‘Ukrainians fought in a variety of military formations during the war.’
    • ‘Many differing formations and attack patterns are also available within one simple click.’
    • ‘This gave them a significant maneuvering advantage when engaging enemy formations.’
    • ‘The troops then marched in formation to the gate and the camp was handed over to a contingent of troops from Ghana.’
    • ‘Depending on the location, the tactical formation, and the method of action, ambushes might be what are called meeting, parallel, or circular.’
    • ‘Soldiers are the engine behind our capabilities and the centerpiece of our formations.’
    • ‘New formations and new uses of weapons developed in response to unconventional threats.’
    • ‘It is not enough to reorganize our units and formations with due regard for the new requirements.’
    • ‘We took off on parallel runways and flew in formation throughout the flight.’
    • ‘The 12 aircraft turned east in formation and descended to 5,000 feet.’
  • 4Geology
    An assemblage of rocks or series of strata having some common characteristic.

    • ‘Using analogous colors would have broken down the cohesive whole into smaller but related parts like strata in a rock formation.’
    • ‘Why, then, is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?’
    • ‘Pyroclastic rocks are preserved in nearly every limestone and sandstone formation of the Hungarian Palaeogene Basin.’
    • ‘The Liva Member includes parts of the formation composed of basic lavas and tuffs with only minor interbedded sediments.’
    • ‘The rock body appears to be a single stage formation without lithologic discontinuities.’


Late Middle English: from Latin formatio(n-), from formare ‘to form’ (see form).