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.