The term formal has a number of uses, including:


*relating to formality
*opposite of informal


* Formal occasion
** Formal attire worn on such occasions
** Formals are particular meals at some British universities
** In Australian or British English, a formal is the equivalent of the American prom dance.
** In American English, a "formal" is organized by a college or university organization, typically but not always a fraternity or sorority.
* Informal occasion (included as Informal redirect here); see Dress code (Western) for the distinctions between Formal, Semi-formal, and Informal
** Informal attire (not to be confused with Casual -- see Dress code (Western))


* relating to form, i.e. appearance rather than essence.
**relating to Formalism, i.e. emphasis on form over content or meaning.
*formal logic logical argument based only on the form and not on the meaning.
*Formal cause, Aristotle's intrinsic, determining cause.


*formal power series, a generalization of power series without requiring convergence, used in combinatorics;
*formal calculation, a calculation which is systematic, but without a rigorous justification;
*formal set theory as opposed to naive set theory;
*formal derivative, an operation on elements of a polynomial ring which mimics the form of the derivative from calculus.

Logic and Language

*formal system, an abstract means of generating inferences in a formal language;
**formal language, comprising the symbolic "words" or "sentences" of a formal system;
***formal grammar, a grammar describing a formal language;
**formal proof, a fully rigorous proof as is possible only in a formal system.

Computer science

*formal methods in computer science, including:
**formal specification describes what a system should do, not how it should do it
**formal verification proves correctness of a system

See also the Language section of Mathematics, above


*Formal equivalence word-for-word translation (especially of the Bible)

See also the Language section of Mathematics, above


*A unit of concentration
*short or prefix form for formalin
*short or prefix form for formaldehyde
*synonym for dimethoxymethane

ee also

* Informal economy

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Formal — Form al (f[^o]rm al), a. [L. formalis: cf. F. formel.] 1. Belonging to the form, shape, frame, external appearance, or organization of a thing. [1913 Webster] 2. Belonging to the constitution of a thing, as distinguished from the matter composing …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • formal — for‧mal [ˈfɔːml ǁ ˈfɔːr ] adjective done or given officially and publicly: • The companies said they expect to sign a formal agreement before year s end. • No formal announcement has yet been made. • The British authorities have decided to… …   Financial and business terms

  • formal — adjetivo 1. De la forma: requisito formal, análisis formal. 2. Que cumple con su palabra, obligaciones o compromisos: Es un hombre formal, de palabra, puedes confiar en él. Es un muchacho formal, serio y responsable. Es una empresa formal, no… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • formal — for·mal adj 1: relating to or involving outward form, structure, or arrangement rather than content a formal defect in the pleadings 2: requiring special or established solemnities or formalities esp. in order to be effective or valid under the… …   Law dictionary

  • formal — FORMÁL, Ă, formali, e, adj. 1. Privitor la formă, care ţine de formă, de aparenţă. ♦ (Adverbial) în aparenţă. 2. Formulat precis; categoric, expres. 3. Pătruns de formalism; făcut de formă (7). 4. (Despre unele acte juridice) Care necesită… …   Dicționar Român

  • formal — [fôr′məl] adj. [ME < L formalis < forma, FORM] 1. of external form or structure, rather than nature or content 2. of the internal form; relating to the intrinsic or essential character or nature 3. of or according to prescribed or fixed… …   English World dictionary

  • formal — (Del lat. formālis). 1. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a la forma, por contraposición a esencial. 2. Que tiene formalidad. 3. Dicho de una persona: Seria, amiga de la verdad y enemiga de chanzas. 4. Expreso, preciso, determinado. ☛ V. acto formal …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • formal — (adj.) late 14c., from O.Fr. formel (13c.) and directly from L. formalis, from forma (see FORM (Cf. form)). As a noun, c.1600 (pl.) things that are formal; as a short way to say formal dance, recorded by 1906, U.S. college students …   Etymology dictionary

  • formal — Adj std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. fōrmālis, zu l. fōrma Form . Aus der gleichen Grundlage über das Französische formell. Eine Substantivierung in Formalie, Abstrakta in Formalismus, Formalität; Täterbezeichnung: Formalist; Verb:… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • formal — [adj1] established, orderly academic, approved, ceremonial, ceremonialistic, ceremonious, confirmed, conventional, decorous, directed, explicit, express, fixed, formalistic, lawful, legal, methodical, official, precise, prescribed, pro forma,… …   New thesaurus

  • formal — Adj. (Mittelstufe) die äußere Form betreffend Beispiele: Wir hatten viele formale Probleme zu bewältigen. Das Referat ist formal einwandfrei …   Extremes Deutsch

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