formal Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “formal” in the English Dictionary

"formal" in British English

See all translations

formaladjective

uk   /ˈfɔː.məl/  us   /ˈfɔːr-/

formal adjective (OFFICIAL)

C1 public or ​official: formal ​procedures a formal ​announcement in ​appearance or by ​name only: I am the formal ​leader of the ​project but the ​everydaymanagement is in the ​hands of my ​assistant.
More examples

formal adjective (SERIOUS)

B2 Formal ​language, ​clothes, and ​behaviour are ​suitable for ​serious or ​officialoccasions: a formal ​dinnerparty
More examples

formal adjective (EDUCATION)

C1 Formal ​education or ​training is ​received in a ​school or ​college: Tom had little formal education.

formal adjective (GARDEN)

A formal ​garden is ​carefullydesigned and ​keptaccording to a ​plan, and it is not ​allowed to ​grownaturally.

formalnoun [C]

uk   /ˈfɔː.məl/  us   /ˈfɔːr-/
a ​dance at which women ​wearfashionable, ​expensivedresses and men ​wear tuxedos or ​similarclothes
(Definition of formal from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"formal" in American English

See all translations

formaladjective

 us   /ˈfɔr·məl/
using an ​agreed and often ​official or ​traditional way of doing things: There are formal ​procedures for ​applying to ​become a US ​citizen. If a ​socialoccasion is formal, you ​weartraditional or very good ​clothes: It was a formal ​affair, and men were ​supposed to ​weardarksuits or ​tuxedos. Formal ​language is the ​language used esp. in writing in ​situations that are ​official and which is often more ​difficult than the ​language used in ​ordinaryconversation. Formal ​education/​training is the ​learning of a ​subject or ​skill from ​courses in a ​school: His formal ​educationended at the sixth ​grade, but he ​became a ​millionaire at the ​age of thirty.

formalnoun [C]

 us   /ˈfɔr·məl/
a ​dance at which women ​wearfashionable, ​expensivedresses and men ​wear tuxedos or ​similarclothes
(Definition of formal from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"formal" in Business English

See all translations

formaladjective

uk   us   /ˈfɔːməl/
stated or ​agreed in writing: a formal agreement/contract/offer They are ​required to make a ​binding formal ​offer and then ​publish an ​offerdocument within 28 days.
done ​publicly or ​officially: a formal announcement/discussion/investigation The two ​companies began formal discussions to renegotiate the $2.8 ​billionpowerproject.
used to describe ​clothing that is suitable for important or ​official occasions: Please ​note that formal ​dress is not ​required at the dinner.
used to describe ​education or ​training that is received in a school or college: Lacking formal ​education, he ​worked as a ​sharecropper and journeyman ​laborer to ​support his family.
ECONOMICS used to describe ​businesses that are ​officiallyrecognized, ​paytaxes, etc.: In Mexico ​small and medium-sized ​enterprisesgenerate six out of ten ​jobs in the formal ​sector.
formally
adverb
The ​bid for the ​company could be formally ​accepted early next week.
(Definition of formal from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of formal?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“formal” in Business English

More meanings of “formal”

Word of the Day
faith school

a school that is financially supported by a particular religious group, usually for children from that religion

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

hyperpalatable adjective
hyperpalatable adjective
August 24, 2015
describes food with heightened levels of sugar and salt, intended to be extremely appealing In Brazil, where the prevalence of overweight and obese adults has doubled since 1980, crisps, biscuits, energy bars and sugary drinks formulated to be ‘hyper-palatable’ are much more widely eaten than previously.

Read More