Meaning of FORMAL in English
I. form ‧ al 1 S2 W2 /ˈfɔːm ə l $ ˈfɔːr-/ BrE AmE adjective
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ formality ≠ ↑ informality , ↑ formalization ; verb : ↑ formalize ; adverb : ↑ formally ≠ ↑ informally ; adjective : ↑ formal ≠ ↑ informal ]
[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: formalis , from forma ; ⇨ ↑ form 1 ]
1 . OFFICIAL [usually before noun] made or done officially or publicly OPP informal :
formal recognition of the reformed church
a formal agreement between the countries
There is no formal structure for negotiating pay increases.
make/lodge a formal complaint
Mr Kelly has lodged a formal complaint against the police.
2 . BEHAVIOUR formal behaviour is very polite, and is used in official or important situations, or with people you do not know well OPP informal :
Over the years, teaching methods have changed and become less formal.
3 . LANGUAGE formal language is used in official or serious situations OPP informal :
‘Yours sincerely’ is a formal way of ending a letter.
4 . EVENT/OCCASION a formal event is important, and people who go to it wear special clothes and behave very politely OPP informal :
I’ve met her twice but only on formal occasions.
a formal dinner
5 . CLOTHES formal dress is clothing such as a ↑ tuxedo for men or a long dress for women, that is worn to formal events OPP casual , informal :
We insist on formal dress for dinner.
6 . formal education/training/qualifications education etc in a subject or skill, that you receive in a school, college etc rather than practical experience of it:
knowledge and wisdom gained from experience rather than from formal education
7 . ORGANIZED done in a very organized way OPP informal :
The course includes formal lectures.
8 . GARDEN/PARK a formal garden, park, or room is arranged in a very organized way OPP informal :
the palace’s beautifully restored formal gardens
⇨ ↑ formally
II. formal 2 BrE AmE noun [countable] American English
1 . a dance at which you have to wear formal clothes
2 . an expensive and usually long dress that women wear on formal occasions
• • •
▪ dance an organized social event where people to go dance:
The dance will be held in the school gym.
▪ ball a large formal occasion where people dance:
The University holds a ball at the end of June.
▪ prom a formal dance party for high school students, especially in the US, usually held at the end of a school year:
Who’s your date for the prom?
▪ formal American English a dance at which you must wear formal clothes:
He rented a tuxedo to wear to his company’s holiday formal.
▪ disco a place or social event where people dance to recorded popular music:
She met Nick at a school disco.
▪ club/nightclub a place where people go at night to dance:
We went out for dinner and then to a club.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012