An example of formidable is a boxer having a match with the current title holder.
- causing fear or dread
- hard to handle or overcome
- awe-inspiring in size, excellence, etc.; strikingly impressive
Origin of formidableMiddle English from Old French from Classical Latin formidabilis from formidare, to fear, dread from formido, fear from Indo-European an unverified form mormo-, to feel horror from source Classical Greek mormoros, fear
- Arousing fear, dread, or alarm: the formidable prospect of major surgery.
- Inspiring awe, admiration, or wonder: “A woman of formidable intelligence and tenacity, [she] prides herself on being independent-minded” ( Nan Levinson )
- Difficult to undertake, surmount, or defeat: a formidable challenge; a formidable opponent.
Origin of formidableMiddle English from Old French from Latin formīdābilis from formīdāre to fear from formīdō fear
- for′mi·da·bil′i·ty for′mi·da·ble·ness
Usage Note: Traditionally formidable has been pronounced with stress on the first syllable, but recently the pronunciation with stress on the second syllable, which is a common variant in British English, has seen increasing use in American English. However, the traditional pronunciation is still preferred by a large majority of the Usage Panel. In our 2008 survey, 73 percent favored the pronunciation with stress on the first syllable, and 27 percent favored the other pronunciation. Both pronunciations are acceptable, however.
(comparative more formidable, superlative most formidable)
From Middle French formidable, from Latin formīdābilis (“formidable, terrible”), from formīdō (“fear, dread”).