Formality For*mal"i*ty, n.; pl. {Formalities}. [Cf. F. formalit['e].] 1. The condition or quality of being formal, strictly ceremonious, precise, etc. [1913 Webster]

2. Form without substance. [1913 Webster]

Such [books] as are mere pieces of formality, so that if you look on them, you look though them. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

3. Compliance with formal or conventional rules; ceremony; conventionality. [1913 Webster]

Nor was his attendance on divine offices a matter of formality and custom, but of conscience. --Atterbury. [1913 Webster]

4. An established order; conventional rule of procedure; usual method; habitual mode. [1913 Webster]

He was installed with all the usual formalities. --C. Middleton. [1913 Webster]

5. pl. The dress prescribed for any body of men, academical, municipal, or sacerdotal. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The doctors attending her in their formalities as far as Shotover. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

6. That which is formal; the formal part. [1913 Webster]

It unties the inward knot of marriage, . . . while it aims to keep fast the outward formality. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

7. The quality which makes a thing what it is; essence. [1913 Webster]

The material part of the evil came from our father upon us, but the formality of it, the sting and the curse, is only by ourselves. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

The formality of the vow lies in the promise made to God. --Bp. Stillingfleet. [1913 Webster]

8. (Scholastic. Philos.) The manner in which a thing is conceived or constituted by an act of human thinking; the result of such an act; as, animality and rationality are formalities. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • formality — for‧mal‧i‧ty [fɔːˈmælti ǁ fɔːr ] noun formalities PLURALFORM [countable usually plural] LAW 1. something formal or official that you have to do so that a process can be completed properly: • immigration and customs formalities • Certain… …   Financial and business terms

  • formality — formality, formalism The first is the ordinary noun corresponding to formal: formality is primarily the observance of rules and conventions, a formality is something that has to be done by convention (often with implications of superfluousness:… …   Modern English usage

  • formality — [n1] convention, custom academism, ceremony, convenance, conventionality, form, gesture, liturgy, matter of form*, officialism, procedure, red tape*, rite, ritual, rituality, rubric, rule, service, solemnity, solemnness, stereotype, tradition;… …   New thesaurus

  • formality — ► NOUN (pl. formalities) 1) the rigid observance of rules or convention. 2) a thing done simply to comply with convention or regulations. 3) (a formality) a thing done or occurring as a matter of course; an inevitability …   English terms dictionary

  • formality — I noun ceremonial rite, ceremoniousness, ceremony, convention, conventionality, correctness, custom, decorum, established mode, etiquette, formalness, observance of form, outward form, prescribed form, propriety, punctilio, rigidity, rigidness,… …   Law dictionary

  • formality — (n.) 1530s, agreement as to form, from M.Fr. formalité (15c.) or directly from L. formalis formal (see FORMAL (Cf. formal)). Originally literary form; meaning something done for the sake of form is from 1590s. Related: Formalities …   Etymology dictionary

  • formality — *form, ceremony, ceremonial, rite, liturgy, ritual Analogous words: convention, convenance, usage, *form: practice, custom, *habit, use, wont …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • formality — [fôr mal′ə tē] n. [Fr formalité] 1. the quality or state of being formal; specif., a) a following or observing of prescribed customs, rules, ceremonies, etc.; propriety b) careful or too careful attention to order, regularity, precision, or… …   English World dictionary

  • formality — noun 1 action that is necessary according to custom/law ADJECTIVE ▪ mere ▪ Your acceptance into the club will be a mere formality. ▪ customs, legal (both esp. BrE) VERB + FORMALITY ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • formality — for|mal|i|ty [ fɔr mæləti ] noun * 1. ) count usually plural something that must be done as part of an official process or that you are expected to do in a social situation: We went through the usual formalities at customs and passport control.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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