Definition of formalism noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

 

formalism

 noun
noun
NAmE//ˈfɔrməˌlɪzəm//
 
[uncountable]
 
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a style or method in art, music, literature, science, etc. that pays more attention to the rules and the correct arrangement and appearance of things than to inner meaning and feelings The defense of formalism is always that it serves to control an excess of feeling.
NAmE//ˈfɔrməlɪst//
 
noun
 
adjective [usually before noun] formalist theory
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: formalism