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[fawr-mi-duh-buh l] /ˈfɔr mɪ də bəl/
causing fear, apprehension, or dread:
a formidable opponent.
of discouraging or awesome strength, size, difficulty, etc.; intimidating:
a formidable problem.
arousing feelings of awe or admiration because of grandeur, strength, etc.
of great strength; forceful; powerful:
formidable opposition to the proposal.
Origin of formidable
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < French < Latin formīdābilis causing fear, equivalent to formīd- (stem of formīdāre to fear) + -ābilis -able
Related forms
formidableness, formidability, noun
formidably, adverb
nonformidability, noun
nonformidable, adjective
nonformidableness, noun
nonformidably, adverb
quasi-formidable, adjective
quasi-formidably, adverb
superformidable, adjective
superformidableness, noun
superformidably, adverb
unformidable, adjective
unformidableness, noun
unformidably, adverb
Can be confused
formative, formidable.
1. dreadful, appalling, threatening, menacing, fearful, frightful, horrible.
1. pleasant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for formidably
  • Capital-intensive projects are formidably tricky to get started.
  • Historians now, including myself, do feel that he rallied from that start and became a formidably good president.
  • formidably toned by yoga, her body is in superb shape, but despite her tanned skin and megawatt smile she looks fragile and wan.
  • Once again, solid rock argued formidably against excavation.
  • formidably good, everything from paid holidays to health care to retirement.
  • Of course, you should never attempt to catch the formidably armed porcupine.
British Dictionary definitions for formidably


arousing or likely to inspire fear or dread
extremely difficult to defeat, overcome, manage, etc: a formidable problem
tending to inspire awe or admiration because of great size, strength, excellence, etc
Derived Forms
formidability, formidableness, noun
formidably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin formīdābilis, from formīdāre to dread, from formīdō fear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for formidably



mid-15c., from Middle French formidable (15c.), from Latin formidabilis "causing fear, terrible," from formidare "to fear," from formido "fearfulness, fear, terror, dread." Related: Formidably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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