formality


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: The interview was a mere formality), and formalities are customary procedures. The word in all these uses often has a dismissive tone. Formalism, first recorded in 1840, has meanings based on the notion of ‘excessive adherence to prescribed forms’ and is used in various technical applications in theology, mathematics, linguistics, the arts, and education:

• The theory was that freeing schoolchildren from the constraints of formalism encouraged creativity —Scotsman, 2000.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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