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Definition of formal:

  1. Belonging to the constitution of a thing, as distinguished from the matter composing it; having the power of making a thing what it is; constituent; essential; pertaining to or depending on the forms, so called, of the human intellect.
  2. Belonging to the form, shape, frame, external appearance, or organization of a thing.
  3. Dependent in form; conventional.
  4. Devoted to, or done in accordance with, forms or rules; punctilious; regular; orderly; methodical; of a prescribed form; exact; prim; stiff; ceremonious; as, a man formal in his dress, his gait, his conversation.
  5. Done in due form, or with solemnity; according to regular method; not incidental, sudden or irregular; express; as, he gave his formal consent.
  6. Having the form or appearance without the substance or essence; external; as, formal duty; formal worship; formal courtesy, etc.
  7. See Methylal.
  8. Sound; normal.

Synonyms:

black-tie, set, distant, ball, courtly, noble, legal, lump, statuesque, imposing, testis, globe, literary, nonrepresentational, chunk, semiformal, plain, white-tie, bollock, directed, dressy, full-dress, established, courtesy, precise, logical, dinner gown, dress, polite, ceremonious, stiff, dinner dress, clod, testicle, orchis, form-only, lawful, approved, nominal, semi-formal, social, perfunctory, symmetrical, dignified, starchy, baronial, nut, orb, conventional, ritual, ceremonial, dressed up, positive, orderly, ritualistic, official, stately, schematic, buckram, evening gown, titular, reserved, ballock, musket ball, egg, confirmed, elegant, punctilious, prescribed, liturgical, pro forma, clump, glob.

Usage examples: