Meaning of “formality” in the English Dictionary

"formality" in British English

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uk /fɔːˈmæl.ə.ti/ us /fɔːˈmæl.ə.t̬i/

formality noun (ACTION)

[ C ] something that has to be done but has no real importance:

You'll have to sign the visitors' book, but it's just a formality.
formalities [ plural ]

something that the law or an official process says must be done:

We'll have to observe the formalities (= do what is expected).

(Definition of “formality” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"formality" in American English

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us /fɔrˈmæl·ɪ·t̬i/

something done because it follows the usual or accepted way of doing things, although it may not be important:

[ C ] There were only a few legal formalities to be finished, and he would be free to leave the country.
[ C ] It was just a mere formality.

Formality is also formal behavior or appearance.

(Definition of “formality” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"formality" in Business English

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uk /fɔːˈmæləti/ us plural formalities

[ C ] something official that must be done before something else can happen or be done:

It is essential to observe all the formalities when setting up a business.
complete/go through the formalities (of sth) This should be a means of injecting share capital into a company without going through the formalities of a share issue.
Approval of the documents is a legal formality.

[ C, usually singular ] something that must be done but that is unlikely to affect an agreement that has already been made:

little more than/only/merely a formality There are still some details to be sorted out, but I believe it's only a formality.
Background checks often are a mere formality in the hiring process.

[ U ] formal writing, behaviour, etc. that is suitable in important or official situations:

The bank says its business overdrafts are arranged with a minimum of formality and fuss.

(Definition of “formality” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)