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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  • formalities — noun a requirement of etiquette or custom a mere formality • Syn: ↑formality • Derivationally related forms: ↑formal (for: ↑formality) • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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