Definition of “formal” - English Dictionary

“formal” in British English

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uk /ˈfɔː.məl/ us /ˈfɔːr.məl/

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 everyday management is in the hands of my assistant.

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formalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈfɔː.məl/ us /ˈfɔːr.məl/

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

“formal” in American English

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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 social occasion is formal, you wear traditional or very good clothes:

It was a formal affair, and men were supposed to wear dark suits 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 ordinary conversation.

Formal education/training is the learning of a subject or skill from courses in a school:

His formal education ended at the sixth grade, but he became a millionaire at the age of thirty.

formalnoun [ C ]

us /ˈfɔr·məl/

a dance at which women wear fashionable, expensive dresses and men wear tuxedos or similar clothes

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

“formal” in Business English

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uk /ˈfɔːməl/ us

stated or agreed in writing:

a formal agreement/contract/offer They are required to make a binding formal offer and then publish an offer document within 28 days.

done publicly or officially:

a formal announcement/discussion/investigation The two companies began formal discussions to renegotiate the $2.8 billion power project.

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 officially recognized, pay taxes, etc.:

In Mexico small and medium-sized enterprises generate six out of ten jobs in the formal sector.

The bid for the company could be formally accepted early next week.

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

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