Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “formal”


adjective     /ˈfɔːməl/
SERIOUS B2 used about clothes , language , and behaviour that are serious and not friendly or relaxed : a formal dinner party Manners and levels of formalityPolite and respectful
OFFICIAL [always before noun] public or official : a formal announcement / apology Government administration and organisationCustom, tradition and conformityManners and levels of formalityPolite and respectfulRules and laws
IN SCHOOL [always before noun] Formal education , training , etc happens in a school or college : Tom had little formal schooling .Types of education
(Definition of formal adjective from the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Definitions of “formal” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


to pour liquid slowly over something, especially in a thin line or in small drops

Word of the Day


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