formalism formalism  /ˈfɔr mə ˌlɪ zəm/


  1. (n) the doctrine that formal structure rather than content is what should be represented
  2. (n) (philosophy) the philosophical theory that formal (logical or mathematical) statements have no meaning but that its symbols (regarded as physical entities) exhibit a form that has useful applications
  3. (n) the practice of scrupulous adherence to prescribed or external forms


  • But in the East, with the growing threat of invasion looming over Constantinople, Byzantine art recoiled into familiar formalism.


  1. China's Xi in 'thorough clean-up' of party: media

    Beijing (AFP) June 18, 2013 President Xi Jinping is to launch a "thorough clean-up" of the ruling Communist Party, state media reported Tuesday, the latest strongly-worded anti-corruption drive to be enacted by China's new leader. The "upcoming year-long campaign" will target what the Xinhua news agency described as "undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucratism, laxity and ...
    on June 19, 2013     Source: Space War

  2. Xi Pledges Cleanup in China’s Campaign Against Party Misbehavior

    Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged a “thorough cleanup” of the ruling Communist Party as part of a yearlong campaign aimed at ridding its ranks of formalism, bureaucracy and extravagance.
    on June 18, 2013     Source: Bloomberg


  1. "I know that in my heart that if this commentary was directed at the Chinese-American community or the Asian community, you would not be resorting to this empty and rigid formalism on your part," Sandoval said.
    on Aug 15, 2007 By: Gerardo Sandoval Source: Fog City Journal

  2. "We must respect farmers' wishes and avoid formalism and coercive orders," Wen said.
    on Mar 6, 2006 By: Wen Jiabao Source: International Herald Tribune

  3. "His work, though formal and precise, displays an exceptional understanding of the limits and uses of formalism and precision," said Gray.
    on Mar 1, 2006 By: James Gray Source: PR Newswire (press release)

Word of the Day
anachronistic anachronistic
/ə ˌnæ krə ˈnɪ stɪk /