formality

[fawr-mal-i-tee]
noun, plural formalities.
1.
condition or quality of being formal; accordance with required or traditional rules, procedures, etc.; conventionality.
2.
rigorously methodical character.
3.
strict adherence to established rules and procedures; rigidity.
4.
observance of form or ceremony.
5.
marked or excessive ceremoniousness.
6.
an established order or method of proceeding: the formalities of judicial process.
7.
a formal act or observance.
8.
something done merely or mainly for form's sake; a requirement of custom or etiquette: the formality of a thank-you note.

Origin:
1525–35; < Latin fōrmālitās. See formal1, -ity


7. rite, ritual, ceremony.
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World English Dictionary
formality (fɔːˈmælɪtɪ)
 
n , pl -ties
1.  a requirement of rule, custom, etiquette, etc
2.  the condition or quality of being formal or conventional
3.  strict or excessive observance of form, ceremony, etc
4.  an established, proper, or conventional method, act, or procedure

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

formality
1530s, from M.Fr. formalité, from L. formalis formal (see formal). Originally literary form; meaning something done for the sake of form is from 1590s. Related: Formalities.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
He returned to the other side of the gate and completed the formalities.
Credit between family members requires the formalities of a bank loan, but the
  rate can be more favorable.
So whenever it happens, all the familiar formalities take on a starkly
  different tone.
With primaries seeming little more than formalities, the general election has
  already begun.
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