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4 definitions found
 for formality
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Formality \For*mal"i*ty\, n.; pl. Formalities. [Cf. F.
     formalit['e].]
     1. The condition or quality of being formal, strictly
        ceremonious, precise, etc.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. Form without substance.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Such [books] as are mere pieces of formality, so
              that if you look on them, you look though them.
                                                    --Fuller.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. Compliance with formal or conventional rules; ceremony;
        conventionality.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Nor was his attendance on divine offices a matter of
              formality and custom, but of conscience.
                                                    --Atterbury.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     4. An established order; conventional rule of procedure;
        usual method; habitual mode.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              He was installed with all the usual formalities.
                                                    --C.
                                                    Middleton.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     5. pl. The dress prescribed for any body of men, academical,
        municipal, or sacerdotal. [Obs.]
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The doctors attending her in their formalities as
              far as Shotover.                      --Fuller.
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     6. That which is formal; the formal part.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              It unties the inward knot of marriage, . . . while
              it aims to keep fast the outward formality.
                                                    --Milton.
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     7. The quality which makes a thing what it is; essence.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The formality of the vow lies in the promise made to
              God.                                  --Bp.
                                                    Stillingfleet.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     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.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  formality
      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"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  150 Moby Thesaurus words for "formality":
     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
  
  

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  FORMALITY. The conditions which must be observed in making contracts, and 
  the words which the law gives to be used in order to render them valid; it 
  also signifies the conditions which the law requires to make regular 
  proceedings. 
  
  

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