Definition of formal
What does the word formal mean?
part of speech: adjective
(Metaphys.) of the essence of a thing (f. CAUSE), essential not material; of the outward form, shape, appearance, arrangement, or external, qualities, (Log.) concerned with the form, not the matter, of reasoning; valid in virtue of its form, explicit and definite, not merely tacit; ceremonial, required by convention (a f. call), perfunctory, having the form without the spirit; observant of forms, precise, prim, excessively regular or symmetrical, stiff, methodical, whence formalism, formalist, nn., formalistic a. Hence formally adv. [Latin]