From King Dictionary of Contemporary English formality for‧mal‧i‧ty / fɔːˈmæləti $ fɔːr- / ●○○ noun ( plural formalities ) 1 [countable usually plural ] B P PUBLIC/NOT PRIVATE something that you must do as a formal or official part of an activity or process the formalities necessary for a valid marriage 2 [countable usually singular ] something you must do even though it has no practical importance or effects just/only/merely etc a formality Getting a gun license here seems to be just a formality. 3 [uncountable ] POLITE careful attention to polite behaviour and language in formal situations OPP informality There is always some degree of formality when one speaks to a stranger. The loan was arranged with little formality. Examples from the Corpus formality • As the formula clearly involved some reduction in wages, this was much more than a formality. • When I re-read my letter I saw that I had written it with a formality that I did not intend. • Jean and Fred will complete the adoption formalities this weekend. • The following morning, Mr Harrison greeted her with careful formality. • Under this Standing Order, a Bill is taken to be read a first time if certain formalities are gone through. • This isn't a defence for hollow formalities. • The border post formalities are quickly completed. • The after-class meetings didn't have the formality of a classroom. • While the formalities are being dealt with, relatives should be given every comfort and assistance if they seek it. • The formality of reading allows her to interact with me without uncertainty and anxiety. • Immediate access without formality to the largest public collection of science literature in Northern Ireland. just/only/merely etc a formality • By the end of the day, her confirmation seemed merely a formality. • The only formality required of a person who wishes to commence trading in this way concerns the naming of the business. degree of formality • The registrar was a dignified man who behaved with the correct degree of formality. • These are expressed with differing degrees of formality in the form of statutory provisions, case law and conventions of the constitution. • The degree of formality ranged from elaborate and schematic written documents to a simple mental rehearsal of what would happen next. • Music groups and choirs are usually drawn to differing styles of music and varying degrees of formality. From King Business Dictionary formality for‧mal‧i‧ty / fɔːˈmælətifɔːr- / noun ( plural formalities ) [countable usually plural ] LAW 1 something formal or official that you have to do so that a process can be completed properly immigration and customs formalities Certain formalities have to be completed before the legal transfer can take effect. 2 a formality something that has to be done for official reasons but will not have any real effect on something that has already been planned or agreed It will only be a formality to renew the agreement on a long-term basis. Although the sale still requires the approval of the Chinese government, such approval is a mere formality.