Of [the sounds represented by] letters, the material part is breath and voice; the formal is constituted by the motion and figure of the organs of speech.Holder.
His obscure funeral . . .Shak.
No noble rite nor formal ostentation.
A cold-looking, formal garden, cut into angles and rhomboids.W. Irwing.
She took off the formal cap that confined her hair.Hawthorne.
Still in constraint your suffering sex remains,Pope.
Or bound in formal or in real chains.
To make of him a formal man again.Shak.
Syn. -- Precise; punctilious; stiff; starched; affected; ritual; ceremonial; external; outward. -- Formal, Ceremonious. When applied to things, these words usually denote a mere accordance with the rules of form or ceremony; as, to make a formal call; to take a ceremonious leave. When applied to a person or his manners, they are used in a bad sense; a person being called formal who shapes himself too much by some pattern or set form, and ceremonious when he lays too much stress on the conventional laws of social intercourse. Formal manners render a man stiff or ridiculous; a ceremonious carriage puts a stop to the ease and freedom of social intercourse.