Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “formal”

formal

adjective uk   /ˈfɔː.məl/ us    /ˈfɔːr-/

formal adjective (OFFICIAL)

C1 public or official: formal procedures a formal announcementAccepting and agreeingAccepting and agreeing reluctantlyApproving and approval in appearance or by name only: I am the formal leader of the project but the everyday management is in the hands of my assistant.Seeming and purporting to beFaking and pretending

formal adjective (SERIOUS)

B2 describes language, clothes, and behaviour that are suitable for serious or official occasions: a formal dinner partyManners and levels of formalityPolite and respectful

formal adjective (EDUCATION)

C1 describes education or training received in a school or college: Tom had little in the way of a formal education.Types of education

formal adjective (GARDEN)

A formal garden is carefully designed and kept according to a plan, and it is not allowed to grow naturally.Gardens and yards
(Definition of formal from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of formal?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “formal” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

innovate

to introduce changes and new ideas

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More