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Formality definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

FORMAL'ITY, n.
1. The practice or observance of forms.
Formalities of extraordinary zeal and piety are never more studied and elaborate then in desperate designs.
2. Ceremony; mere conformity to customary modes.
Nor was his attendance on divine offices a matter of formality and custom, but of conscience.
3. Established order; rule of proceeding; mode; method; as the formalities of judicial process; formalities of law.
4. Order; decorum to be observed; customary mode of behavior.
5. Customary mode of dress; habit; robe.
6. External appearance.
7. Essence; the quality which constitutes a thing what it is.
The formality of the vow lies in the promise made to God.
8. In the schools, the manner in which a thing is conceived; or a manner in an object, importing a relation to the understanding, by which it may be distinguished from another object. Thus animality and rationality are formalities.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

n
1: a requirement of etiquette or custom; "a mere formality" [syn: formality, formalities]
2: a manner that strictly observes all forms and ceremonies; "the formality of his voice made the others pay him close attention" [syn: formality, formalness] [ant: informality]
3: compliance with formal rules; "courtroom formality"

Merriam Webster's

noun (plural -ties) Date: 1597 1. compliance with formal or conventional rules ; ceremony 2. the quality or state of being formal 3. an established form or procedure that is required or conventional <the interview was just a formality>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a formal or ceremonial act, requirement of etiquette, regulation, or custom (often with an implied lack of real significance). b a thing done simply to comply with a rule. 2 the rigid observance of rules or convention. 3 ceremony; elaborate procedure. 4 being formal; precision of manners. 5 stiffness of design. Etymology: F formalité or med.L formalitas (as FORMAL)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Formality For*mal"i*ty, n.; pl. Formalities. [Cf. F. formalit['e].] 1. The condition or quality of being formal, strictly ceremonious, precise, etc. 2. Form without substance. Such [books] as are mere pieces of formality, so that if you look on them, you look though them. --Fuller. 3. Compliance with formal or conventional rules; ceremony; conventionality. Nor was his attendance on divine offices a matter of formality and custom, but of conscience. --Atterbury. 4. An established order; conventional rule of procedure; usual method; habitual mode. He was installed with all the usual formalities. --C. Middleton. 5. pl. The dress prescribed for any body of men, academical, municipal, or sacerdotal. [Obs.] The doctors attending her in their formalities as far as Shotover. --Fuller. 6. That which is formal; the formal part. It unties the inward knot of marriage, . . . while it aims to keep fast the outward formality. --Milton. 7. The quality which makes a thing what it is; essence. The material part of the evil came from our father upon us, but the formality of it, the sting and the curse, is only by ourselves. --Jer. Taylor. The formality of the vow lies in the promise made to God. --Bp. Stillingfleet. 8. (Scholastic. Philos.) The manner in which a thing is conceived or constituted by an act of human thinking; the result of such an act; as, animality and rationality are formalities.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(formalities) 1. If you say that an action or procedure is just a formality, you mean that it is done only because it is normally done, and that it will not have any real effect on the situation. With the Cold War almost over, the talks were a mere formality. N-COUNT 2. Formalities are formal actions or procedures that are carried out as part of a particular activity or event. They are whisked through the immigration and customs formalities in a matter of minutes. N-COUNT: usu pl 3. see also formal

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. 1. Custom, established mode, settled method, rule of proceeding. 2. Ceremony, conventionality, etiquette, mere form.

Moby Thesaurus

Procrustean law, act, baccalaureate service, bienseance, bill, bylaw, canon, celebration, ceremonial, ceremony, circumstance, civility, code, commencement, conformity, convenance, convention, conventional usage, conventionalism, conventionality, convocation, correctness, criterion, custom, decency, decorousness, decorum, decree, demureness, dictate, dictation, duty, earnestness, edict, elegance, empty formality, enactment, etiquette, euphemism, euphuism, exactness, exercise, exercises, exquisiteness, form, form of worship, formal, formalism, formula, formulary, function, good form, goody-goodness, goody-goodyism, graduation, graduation exercises, gravity, grimness, guideline, heraldry, holy rite, inaugural, inauguration, inflexibility, initiation, institution, jus, law, law of nature, legislation, lex, liturgy, long face, maxim, measure, mode of worship, mummery, mystery, norm, norma, observance, office, order of nature, order of worship, ordinance, ordonnance, overniceness, overpreciseness, overrefinement, pedantry, performance, politesse, pomp, practice, preciosity, preciousness, precisianism, precision, prescribed form, prescript, prescription, pride, principle, procedure, propriety, protocol, punctilio, purism, regulation, religious ceremony, rigidity, rite, rite de passage, rite of passage, ritual, ritual observance, rituality, rubric, rule, ruling, sacrament, sacramental, sedateness, seemliness, seriousness, service, set form, sober-mindedness, soberness, sobersidedness, sobersides, sobriety, social convention, social usage, solemnity, solemnization, solemnness, somberness, staidness, standard, standing order, state, statute, stiffness, straight face, strictness, thoughtfulness, universal law, weightiness, wont



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