Definition of formality noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fɔːˈmæləti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//fɔːrˈmæləti//
    (pl. formalities)
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  1. 1[countable, usually plural] a thing that you must do as a formal or official part of a legal process, a social situation, etc. to go through all the formalities necessary in order to get a gun licence Let's skip the formalities and get down to business.
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] a thing that you must do as part of an official process, but which has little meaning and will not affect what happens He already knows he has the job so the interview is a mere formality.
  3. 3[uncountable] correct and formal behaviour Different levels of formality are appropriate in different situations. She greeted him with stiff formality.
  4. Word Originmid 16th cent. (in the sense ‘accordance with legal rules or conventions’): from French formalité or medieval Latin formalitas, from formalis, from forma ‘shape, mould’.Extra examples It only took a few minutes to complete the legal formalities. Let’s dispense with the formalities and get down to work. She preferred to maintain a cool formality in her dealings with her manager. She was clearly the best candidate for the job, so her interview was just a formality. Your acceptance into the club will be a mere formality. She couldn’t help smiling at the formality of his words.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: formality