Meaning of FORMULA in English

I. ˈfȯrmyələ, -ȯ(ə)m- noun

( plural formu·las -ləz ; also formu·lae -ˌlē, -ˌlī)

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Latin, diminutive of forma form


a. : a set form of words for use in a ceremony or ritual

b. : a formal statement of religious doctrine or a written confession of faith

c. : a conventionalized statement intended to express some fundamental truth or principle especially as a basis for negotiation, discussion, or action

the two nations sought a formula that would allow settling of the border dispute

the formula “54-40 or fight”


a. : a recipe or prescription giving method and proportions of ingredients for the preparation of some material (as a medicine, a blend of coffee, or a caulking compound)

b. : a milk mixture or substitute for feeding an infant typically consisting of prescribed proportions and forms of cow's milk, water, and sugar ; often : a batch of this made up at one time to meet an infant's future requirements (as during a 24-hour period)


a. : a general fact, rule, or principle expressed in symbols

certain earlier workers attempted to differentiate nematodes by a formula of numerical ratios

b. : a symbolic expression showing the composition or constitution of a chemical substance and consisting of symbols for the elements present and subscripts to indicate the relative or total number of atoms present in a molecule

the formulas for water, sulfuric acid, and ethyl alcohol are H 2 O, H 2 SO 4 , and C 2 H 5 OH respectively

— see empirical formula , general formula , molecular formula , structural formula

c. : a group of symbols (as numbers, letters, or arbitrary signs) associated to express briefly a single concept ; also in logic : any combination of signs in an uninterpreted calculus

d. in logic : an expression (as a statement or matrix) stipulated to be meaningful by the rules of the calculus to which it belongs ; especially : such an expression containing only variables

4. : a prescribed or set form : a fixed or conventional method (as of acting, arranging, or speaking) : an established rule or custom — often used somewhat derogatorily

many of the paintings were unimaginative formula works

the limitations of formula fiction — Coleman Rosenberger

5. : any of the various written forms by which the praetors of ancient Rome referred causes to judges or arbitrators for hearing and adjudication upon a summons of the defendant into court by the plaintiff

II. adjective

Etymology: formula , noun

of a racing car : conforming to prescribed specifications of size, weight, and engine displacement and usually having a long narrow body, open wheels, a single-seat open cockpit, and an engine in the rear

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.