Meaning of “informal” in the English Dictionary

"informal" in British English

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uk /ɪnˈfɔː.məl/ us /ɪnˈfɔːr.məl/

B2 (of situations) not formal or official, or (of clothing, behaviour, speech) suitable when you are with friends and family but not for official occasions:

The two groups agreed to hold an informal meeting.
He's the ideal sort of teacher - direct, friendly, and informal.
"Hi" is an informal way of greeting people.

More examples

  • What was once an informal event has now become institutionalized.
  • People chatting at a party will usually be talking in an informal register.
  • Many informal expressions are gaining currency in serious newspapers.
  • The party itself was a fairly informal affair.
  • They started as informal gatherings but they have become increasingly formalized in the last few years.
adverb uk /ɪnˈfɔː.mə.li/ us /ɪnˈfɔːr.mə.li/


It's an outdoor party, so dress informally.
They've agreed informally to separate.
noun [ U ] uk /ˌɪn.fɔːˈmæl.ə.ti/ us /ˌɪn.fɔːrˈmæl.ə.t̬i/

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

"informal" in American English

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us /ɪnˈfɔr·məl/

not formal or official, or not suitable for official or special occasions:

an informal gathering
Informal talks resumed today in an attempt to end the strike.
noun [ U ] us /ˌɪn·fɔrˈmæl··t̬i/
adverb us /ɪnˈfɔr·mə·li/

It’s OK to dress informally for the dinner party.

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

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