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Formal   /fˈɔrməl/   Listen
Formal

noun
1.
A lavish dance requiring formal attire.  Synonym: ball.
2.
A gown for evening wear.  Synonyms: dinner dress, dinner gown, evening gown.



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"Formal" Quotes from Famous Books



... I received a formal invitation to the dinner and ball. I told the Doctor that in view of the work to be done, I would decline the invitation. He begged me not to do it and insisted that he was counting upon me to represent the valor and chivalry of the New World; ...
— In the Days of Poor Richard • Irving Bacheller

... habit in psychic metaphors is a procedure known also to theology. Whenever natural or moral law is declared to reveal the divine mind, this mind is a set of formal or ethical principles rather than an imagined consciousness, re-enacted dramatically. What is conceived is the god's operation, not his emotions. In this way God's goodness becomes a symbol for the advantages of life, his wrath a symbol for its dangers, his ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... had entered its acute phase in 1749, when both the rival claimants took action to assert their sovereignty. The Governor of Canada sent an envoy, Celoron de Blainville, with soldiers, to take formal possession of the Ohio for the King of France. In the same year the English organized in Virginia the Ohio Company for the colonization of the same country; and summoned Christopher Gist, explorer, trader, and guide, from his ...
— Pioneers of the Old Southwest - A Chronicle of the Dark and Bloody Ground • Constance Lindsay Skinner

... civil, the result is apt to kill with kindness; and—as King CHARLES THE FIRST, when they were shuffling off his mortal coil, politely apologised for the unconscionable long time that his head took to decapitate—so I, too, must draw attention to the fact that the duration of formal ceremonious visits, is far too ...
— Baboo Jabberjee, B.A. • F. Anstey

... Terwilliger, excusing himself, left the assemblage, and went directly to his private office in the crypt of the Greek chapel. Arrived there, he seated himself at his desk and wrote the following formal card, which he put in an envelope and addressed to the Earl ...
— The Water Ghost and Others • John Kendrick Bangs

... write him an apology, Sir. He says he won't come down till he has one, and talks about Washington, and goes on in an absurd way. A formal apology will make him see how foolish he is, and bring him down quite amiable. Try it. He likes fun, and this way is better than talking. I'll carry it up, and ...
— Little Women • Louisa May Alcott

... wedding last week, and should have accepted but for the great Smart Clothes tradition. If The Times' hero and heroine were to become imaginatively busy as I suggest, I could go to all the weddings in the world. (Heaven forbid!) Receptions, formal lunches, the laying of stones, the unveiling of monuments, private views—these ceremonies, now so full of terrors for any but the dressy, could be made endurable if only the gentleman in the black coat green with age and the lady with the elastic sides would ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, November 3, 1920 • Various

... some formal ceremony to celebrate Kirby's ascendency to power. To this the Duca consented, and established the date as a fortnight hence, and the place as the temple on the plateau beyond the plateau of the castle, where the Ducas had been invested ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, December 1930 • Various

... my own conjectures and speculations all through the gay season. Every where I went I met the same people. I saw the origin, progress, and final consummation of many a love-match, from the formal introduction of both parties, to the glittering tell-tale diamond on the finger of a dainty hand. I had learned many lessons both from passive observation and active experience, and now as the season of feasting and flirting and merry-making was waning into the quietude ...
— The Doctor's Daughter • "Vera"

... have contemned Christ as an imposter; in Constantinople, we should have cried "Allah il Allah, God is great and Mahomet is his prophet!" Birth, place, and education give us our faith. Few believe in any religion because they have examined the evidences of its authenticity, and made up a formal judgment, upon weighing the testimony. Not one man in ten thousand knows anything about the proofs of his faith. We believe what we are taught; and those are most fanatical who know least of the evidences on which their creed is based. ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... taste of Trumet's real aristocracy, the genuine article. Captain Elkanah Daniels and his daughter made their first formal call. The captain was majestic in high hat, fur-collared cape, tailed coat, and carrying a gold-headed cane. Miss Annabel wore her newest gown and bonnet and rustled as she walked. They entered the sitting room and the lady glanced superciliously ...
— Keziah Coffin • Joseph C. Lincoln

... divine reality. Therefore, whatever our practice may be, let us hold fast to our theories of possible good; let us, at least, however they may outrun our present powers, keep them in sight, and then our formal, lagging practice, may in time overtake them. In social morals, as well as in physical truth, 'the goal of yesterday will be the starting-point of to-morrow,' and the things before which all England now stands in admiring ...
— Brave Men and Women - Their Struggles, Failures, And Triumphs • O.E. Fuller

... ready to meet Wolsey more than half way. He was particularly desirous of holding a formal interview and a personal interchange of courtesies with the King of England; and to this end he actually appointed Henry's minister his own plenipotentiary, a position without precedent or parallel for an ...
— England Under the Tudors • Arthur D. Innes

... what he asked her, and M. Rosselin promised to speak to the minister about it; and then Caillard began to worry him, till the deputy told him he must make a formal application ...
— Maupassant Original Short Stories (180), Complete • Guy de Maupassant

... office? I should think so. You should have seen the young fellows to-day when they heard he was so ill. Of course we laugh a bit at him—Schedule Perkins he's called—because he's so dry and formal; but ...
— McClure's Magazine, Volume VI, No. 3. February 1896 • Various

... traitors. And when he has these proofs, neither of us will be safe for an instant. It will mean death to both of us sooner or later. But even Sobrenski can't murder us without sufficient evidence. He will be obliged to make some formal parade of justice to put it all before the rest of the society. If he doesn't get our letters he will not ...
— The Hippodrome • Rachel Hayward

... opinion[68]. The States, said he, were not the cause of those unjust practices, nor had any part in them: so far from it they have prohibited, by express ordonnances, the injuring of our friends. They were not obliged to ask security from the privateers, since, without granting formal commissions, they might permit all their subjects to plunder the enemy, as was formerly practised; and the permission they granted to those privateers was not the cause of the damage they did to our allies, since any private person may, without ...
— The Life of the Truly Eminent and Learned Hugo Grotius • Jean Levesque de Burigny

... distinction is not merely a formal one is shown by the fact that an offending boy's name, and the decision of the Court regarding him, is always recorded in the Police Gazette. As the girl is not charged as an offender her name is not so recorded, even although (as ...
— Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents - The Mazengarb Report (1954) • Oswald Chettle Mazengarb et al.

... this morning at the class, so she must have changed after lunch, which was an unheard of thing to do for a mere stroll on the green. Georgie knew well that this was no mere stroll; she was on her way to pay a call of the most formal and magnificent kind. She did not deviate a hair-breadth from her straight course to the door of the Arms, she just waggled her hand to Mrs Antrobus, blew a kiss to her sprightly daughters, made a gracious bow to Colonel Boucher, who stood up and took his ...
— Queen Lucia • E. F. Benson

... to give place to something more legitimate, but which served its purpose at the time as declaration of rights for the people. When the news of the revolution of Vienna arrived, the Pope himself cried Viva Pio Nono! and this ebullition of truth in one so humble, though opposed to his formal declarations, was received by his people with that immediate assent ...
— At Home And Abroad - Or, Things And Thoughts In America and Europe • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... is everything, as it was in the beginning and as it shall be ever after. Probably poor Adam had to stand behind a tree neglected and alone, while Lilith and girls from the land of Nod bedecked Eve for the festivities. Men are not made for ceremonies. And so at all the formal occasions of this life—whether it be among the great or among the lowly, in the East or the West, at weddings, christenings, and funerals—man hides in shame and leaves the affairs to woman, who leads him as an ox, even a muzzled ...
— A Certain Rich Man • William Allen White

... the nature of Truth has been discussed. A formal truth may be as sinful as a lie, and a lie may be as meritorious as a Truth. Hence, the ascertainment of ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... where the affair of Henry's conversion was as much a matter of domestic personal interest as it could be in France—for religion up to that epoch was the true frontier between nation and nation—debated the question most earnestly while it was yet doubtful. It was proposed to send a formal deputation to the king, in order to divert him, if possible, from the fatal step which he was about to take. After ripe deliberation however, it was decided to leave the matter "in the hands of God Almighty, and to pray Him ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... to end war," the war "to make the world safe for democracy" came to a formal ending, and for a few hours the world gazed spellbound on golden hopes. Greater than the disillusionment of war was that of the making of the peace. There had never been a war, not even the "Thirty Years' War" in Germany, the "Hundred ...
— Towards the Great Peace • Ralph Adams Cram

... and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition ...
— The 2003 CIA World Factbook • United States. Central Intelligence Agency

... careful of your master's credit, And as our bounty now exceeds the figure Of common entertainment: so do you With looks as free as is your master's soul, Give formal welcome to the thronged tables, That shall receive the Cardinal's followers And the attendants of the Lord Chancellor. But all my care, Cromwell, depends on thee. Thou art a man differing from vulgar form, And by how much thy spirit is ranked bove these In rules of Art, by so ...
— Cromwell • William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]

... highest growth rate since 1999. Haiti suffers from higher inflation than similar low-income countries, a lack of investment, and a severe trade deficit. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability. In 2006, Haiti held a successful donors conference in which the total aid pledged exceeded Haiti's request. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling ...
— The 2007 CIA World Factbook • United States

... out of each other, were essentially one, and were as closely united together as it was possible for them to be, without a formal organization. The first formal meeting of all these churches was held at Chioh-be (a church under our care), in 1861. No ecclesiastical power was assumed. The next similar meeting was held in April, 1862, in the churches at Amoy. This was ...
— History and Ecclesiastical Relations of the Churches of the Presbyterial Order at Amoy, China • J. V. N. Talmage

... eight days later, without any formal engagement, Frederick was regarded as Mademoiselle Roque's "intended," and Pere Roque, who was not troubled with many scruples, often left ...
— Sentimental Education, Volume II - The History of a Young Man • Gustave Flaubert

... brought about my knowledge of the painter's existence. He, Sir William, had taken a fancy to me, and I became his child-correspondent. Few things contribute more to that indirect after-education, which is worth all the formal lessons of the school-room a thousand times told, than such good-humored condescension from a clever man of the world to a girl almost young enough to be his granddaughter. I owe much to that correspondence, and, amongst other debts, the acquaintance ...
— Yesterdays with Authors • James T. Fields

... girls induced other trucks to help Joe and the enthusiasm kept growing. Curiosity was spurred by the big sign over the closed doors, and every woman who donated was anxious to know what others had given to the shop. It was evident there would be a crowd at the formal "opening," for much was expected from the ...
— Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls • Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)

... brook no forced and measured tasks, Nor weary rote, nor formal chains; The simple heart, that ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... more formal, more business-like, than anything that had gone before. To go to see the woman whom you think of most in the world, that is a vague thing which other engagements may push aside; but an invitation to go for the partridges is business ...
— A Country Gentleman and his Family • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... 4th everything went well till the evening, although, it is stated, a formal complaint of Smith's interference was made through the regular, foreman of the boiler-shop, as will appear in evidence. In the evening of that day—that is, about eight o'clock—a meeting of the heads of the various departments was held in a distant part of the works, which was attended by Smith ...
— The Master of the Shell • Talbot Baines Reed

... occupied a Professorial Chair at a university or elsewhere, but it arose in this way: When John first came to live with me he felt a diffidence, owing to the disparity between our ages, in addressing me by my Christian name; on the other hand, to call me by my surname seemed to him far too cold and formal. So on one occasion, when I had been holding forth on my favourite science, he remarked, "I think, sir, if you will allow me, I shall call you 'Professor' in future; the title seems most appropriate for one who has the power of conveying information on scientific ...
— To Mars via The Moon - An Astronomical Story • Mark Wicks

... the colonists took formal possession of the Cape, but unfortunately so much time had been lost in contesting with the natives, that, notwithstanding all their industry, the rainy and tornado season set in while the dwelling-houses were still roofless. ...
— A Voyage Round the World, Vol. I (of ?) • James Holman

... "One never knows what may happen. I insist that you shall accept a formal acknowledgment of ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... the—business now. You need not go there, my dear, unless you like. I am not fond of Mrs. Tom. We were always, so to speak, above our station; but she is not at all above it. She is just adapted for it; and I don't think she would suit you in the least. So except just for a formal call, I don't think you need go there, and even that only if grandmamma can spare you. You must be civil to everybody, I suppose; but you need not go further; they are not society for you. You will hear people talk of me by my Christian name, as if we were most intimate; but don't believe ...
— Phoebe, Junior • Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant

... in the United States, each state, and even each school, being largely a law unto itself, there is getting to be a very decided uniformity the country over as to practise, and in many ways this is much more significant than formal legislation would be. For without compulsion, the whole people, each section and each state, independent of all others, seemingly by the very necessity of the case, have fixt upon the same minimum standard of qualification ...
— On the Firing Line in Education • Adoniram Judson Ladd

... only formal whaling code authorized by legislative enactment, was that of Holland. It was decreed by the States-General in A.D. 1695. But though no other nation has ever had any written whaling law, yet the American fishermen have been their own legislators and lawyers in ...
— Moby Dick; or The Whale • Herman Melville

... is the divine gift of language possessed by Plato in the Symposium and Phaedrus. From this there are many fallings-off in the Laws: first, in the structure of the sentences, which are rhythmical and monotonous,—the formal and sophistical manner of the age is superseding the natural genius of Plato: secondly, many of them are of enormous length, and the latter end often forgets the beginning of them,—they seem never to have received the second thoughts of the author; ...
— Laws • Plato

... a married woman has the same power to dispose of her property as unmarried women, only the law specifies a few exceptions. In this law the expression is used that woman becomes un-free in marriage. Who could blame her if, there also, as happens frequently in France, women are seen to waive formal matrimonial contracts? ...
— Woman under socialism • August Bebel

... empty chair. It belonged to the little Doctor, Mr. Queed. Across the table from Sharlee stood another. This one belonged to the old professor, Nicolovius. When the meal was well along, Nicolovius came in, bowed around the table in his usual formal way, and silently took his place. While Sharlee liked everybody in the boarding-house, including Miss Miller, Professor Nicolovius was the only one of them that she considered at all interesting. This was ...
— Queed • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... public recognition of his new rank was yet to be made, by the formal act of coronation, which, therefore, Napoleon determined should take place with circumstances of solemnity, which had been beyond the reach of any temporal prince, however powerful, for many ages. His policy was often marked ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, Supplementary Number, Issue 263, 1827 • Various

... season, and in Chait (March) because it is inauspicious, Jeth (May) because it is too hot, and Pus (December) because it is the last month of the year among the Binjhwars. The marriage ceremony should begin on a Sunday, when the guests are welcomed and their feet washed. On Monday the formal reception of the bride takes place, the Gandsan or scenting ceremony follows on Tuesday, and on Wednesday is the actual wedding. At the scenting ceremony seven married girls dressed in new clothes dyed yellow with turmeric conduct the bridegroom round the central post; one holds ...
— The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume II • R. V. Russell

... AND ALICE: I was going to write nephew and niece, but you both seem nearer and dearer to me than those formal titles express. I see that Quincy is now out of politics, and I know that he needs a change. Your rooms are all ready for you here, and I want you both to come, just as soon as you can. It will be the best for you, too, Alice, as you will escape the very bad winter that ...
— The Further Adventures of Quincy Adams Sawyer and Mason's Corner Folks • Charles Felton Pidgin

... each man had exchanged his three or four minutes' conversation with the fair postmistress,—a conversation at times impeded by bashfulness or timidity, on his part solely, or restricted often to vague smiling,—he resignedly made way for the next. It was a formal levee, mitigated by the informality of rustic tact, great good-humor, and infinite patience, and would have been amusing had it not always been terribly in earnest and at times touching. For it was peculiar to the place and the epoch, and indeed implied ...
— Colonel Starbottle's Client and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... an occurrence in our day would create astonishment. The organized power of the community to suppress vicious and rude passions was probably never brought to bear with greater rigidness than in our Puritan villages; but it did not fully accomplish its end. Behind and beneath the solemn and formal exterior, there was, after all, perhaps as much irregularity of life as now. The nature of man had not been subdued. The people had their quarrels and fights, and their frolics and merriments, in defiance of the restraints of authority. ...
— Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II • Charles Upham

... could refrain no longer. Isora's disconsolate, solitary, destitute condition broke irresistibly upon me, and all scruple of more delicate and formal nature vanished at once. I ascended the stairs, followed by the old woman—she stopped me by the threshold of a room on the second floor, and whispered "There!" I paused an instant,—collected breath and courage, and entered. The room was partially darkened. The curtains were ...
— Devereux, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... in this paper appear to us so elementary, that we feel disposed to apologize for presenting them in such a formal manner. But every generation has to learn the alphabet for itself. And the mass of men are so occupied with other matters, that they do not give themselves time to discriminate. Their judgments are dictated, in many cases, by their feelings, or ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... to make the acquaintance of the interesting group, and many took advantage of that fact; for Uncle John chatted brightly with every man and Patsy required no excuse of a formal introduction to confide to every woman that John Merrick was taking his three nieces to Europe to "see the sights and have the time of ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces Abroad • Edith Van Dyne

... an end; the archduke bad taken formal leave of his mother's court; this evening he was to spend in the imperial family circle; and early on the next morning his journey would begin. He had just written a last note of farewell to a friend. Alone in his room, he stood before a ...
— Joseph II. and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... allow us to glance briefly at a few of the remaining victories of the American navy. A formal declaration of war against Great Britain was passed by Congress on the 18th of June, 1812. On the 19th of August, the memorable capture of the British frigate Guerriere by the Constitution under Captain Hull, took place. On the 19th of October the ...
— Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy • Anonymous

... de Moustier, successor to Monsieur de la Luzerne, would, from his office, need no letter of introduction to you or to any body. Yet I take the liberty of recommending him to you, to shorten those formal approaches, which the same office would otherwise expose him to, in making your acquaintance. He is a great enemy to formality, etiquette, ostentation, and luxury. He goes with the best dispositions to cultivate society, ...
— Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I • Thomas Jefferson

... crumpled paper, which Jean had recovered, and pointed out the telegraphic report that told how another high official of the President's official family had disgraced himself, his profession and the administration by the formal declaration that he accepted the historic Griggs infamy as a correct interpretation ...
— The Daughter of a Republican • Bernie Babcock

... summer's end, Morty Sands's mandolin was wrapped in its chamois skin bag and locked in its mahogany case. Sometimes Morty, whistling softly and dolefully, would pass the Nesbit home late at night, hoping that his chirping might reach her heart; at times he made a rather formal call upon the entire Nesbit family, which he was obviously encouraged to repeat by the elders. But Morty was inclined to hide in the thicket of his sorrow and twitter his heart out to the cold stars. Tom Van Dorn pervaded the Nesbit home by day with his flowers and books and candy, and by night—as ...
— In the Heart of a Fool • William Allen White

... to express their sympathy with the rector and his wife, who, however, seemed to be quite comfortable and happy in their new quarters. On the other hand, some of the vestry hinted strongly that tents could not be put up on church property without their formal permission, and a few of the more pious suggested that it was little short of sacrilege thus to violate the sanctity of a consecrated place. Nickey had painted a large sign with the word RECTORY on it, in truly rustic lettering, and had hung it at the entrance of the ...
— Hepsey Burke • Frank Noyes Westcott

... rose and took his leave in the most formal manner, he saw that his pathway towards the Senorita Isabella's graces was by no means one of sunshine alone, but at that moment it presented to his view a most cloudy horizon. The unfortunate connection of himself with the sentence of Captain Bezan, now assumed its true ...
— The Heart's Secret - The Fortunes of a Soldier, A Story of Love and the Low Latitudes • Maturin Murray

... the sea in the hands of a foreign government far weaker than themselves? If there is any such person he knows little of the past history of mankind, and will perhaps excuse us for reminding him that the people of Kentucky, before they were constituted a State, gave formal notice to the federal government, when Gen. Washington was President, that if the United States did not require Louisiana they would themselves conquer it. The mouths of the Mississippi belong, by the gift of God, to the inhabitants of its ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I., No. IV., April, 1862 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... imperial relationship raised by the Boer War lent especial interest to the Colonial Conference of 1902. Again the formal occasion for inviting the representatives of the Dominions to Great Britain was a royal ceremony. Good Queen Victoria had died in 1901, and the coronation of Edward the Seventh was to take place in June. The sudden illness of the king postponed the festivities, but the meetings of the ...
— The Day of Sir Wilfrid Laurier - A Chronicle of Our Own Time • Oscar D. Skelton

... which had been going on all through the summer. There was a little wrangling at the opening over the terms to be employed in the answer to the President's message, and then the House relapsed into quiet, awaiting the formal announcement of the treaty. At last the treaty arrived with the addition of the suspending article, and the President proclaimed it to be the law of the land, and sent a copy to the House. Livingston, of New York, at once moved a resolution, asking the President ...
— George Washington, Vol. II • Henry Cabot Lodge

... when, in 1826, a rumour prevailed that the French were about to occupy that region, the Sydney people were alarmed lest so great a territory should thus be lost for ever to the British Empire; they, therefore, in that year, sent a detachment of soldiers to take formal possession of the country and to found a settlement at King George's Sound. From this early effort, however, no practical result ensued; and, during the few years of its existence, the place continued to be nothing more ...
— History of Australia and New Zealand - From 1606 to 1890 • Alexander Sutherland

... aligned with the propertied classes. On the part of the capitalists there was no unity of organization in the sense of selected leaders or committees. It was not necessary. A stronger bond than that of formal organization drove them into acting in conscious unison—namely, the immediate peril involved to their property interests. Apprehension soon gave way to grim decision. This formidable labor movement had to be broken ...
— Great Fortunes from Railroads • Gustavus Myers

... who took part in the meeting in aid of the Coal-miners, the strike must go on. The Merchants and Shipping Company's Unions pointed out that what had been done was in direct opposition to the terms of the formal agreement signed less than a year before, and they refused to have anything more to do with the Federation on any terms. The conference thus ended in an open declaration of war. The time had evidently come for the Federation of Labor to make good the assertions so often ...
— The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 • Various

... and if his remarks sometimes shoot over the heads of his auditors, this is only because he intends that they should. The first ten or fifteen pages of the "Autocrat" are written in such a cold, formal and pedantic manner that the wonder is that Lowell should have published it. After that the style suddenly changes and the Doctor becomes himself. It is like a convention call which ends in ...
— Cambridge Sketches • Frank Preston Stearns

... Frank's reply. "I have it figured out like this, from what you have told me of the fact that the submarines will be surrendered first: Admiral Tyrwhitt probably will receive the surrender of the U-Boats, while Admiral Beatty will receive the formal surrender ...
— The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets - The Fall of the German Navy • Robert L. Drake

... apparently little the worse for wear, which immunity from harm is no doubt owing to the admirable system of tying adopted by Mr. Lye. It is sometimes said that the act of trying in the flowering shoots in this manner gives the plants a somewhat severely formal appearance, but there is an abundance of healthy foliage and a wonderful profusion of finely developed flowers, showing the most careful and painstaking cultivation. It is only those who are privileged to ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 484, April 11, 1885 • Various

... upon itself this artificial burden in an already overtaxed life! The angels in heaven must admire and wonder. The cynic wants to know what is gained for any rational being when a city-full of women undertake to make and receive formal visits with persons whom for the most part they do not wish to see. What is gained, he asks, by leaving cards with all these people and receiving their cards? When a woman makes her tedious rounds, why is she always relieved to find people not in? When she can ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... now Like toilsome oxen to the plough; And sometimes Lust, like the misguiding light, Draws them through all the labyrinths of night. If any few among the great there be From the insulting passions free, Yet we even those too fettered see By custom, business, crowds, and formal decency; And wheresoe'er they stay, and wheresoe'er they go, Impertinences round them flow. These are the small uneasy things Which about greatness still are found, And rather it molest than wound Like gnats which ...
— Cowley's Essays • Abraham Cowley

... following essays is taken from the Thistle Edition of Stevenson's Works, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, in New York. I have refrained from selecting any of Stevenson's formal essays in literary criticism, and have chosen only those that, while ranking among his masterpieces in style, reveal his personality, character, opinions, philosophy, and faith. In the Introduction, I have endeavoured to be as brief as possible, merely giving a ...
— Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... faithful staff thou slight'st them all. But if the market gard'ner chance to pass, Bringing to town his fruit, or early grass, The gentle salesman you with candour greet, And with reit'rated "good mornings" meet. Announcing your approach by formal bell, Of nightly weather you the changes tell; Whether the Moon shines, or her head doth steep In rain-portending clouds. When mortals sleep In downy rest, you brave the snows and sleet Of winter; and in alley, or in street, Relieve your midnight progress with a verse. ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV - Poems and Plays • Charles and Mary Lamb

... its features at the period when it came into his father's possession. "The house," he says, "stands in one corner of a high-walled garden of about three quarters of an acre, that part of the garden which faced the house was divided into long, narrow, formal flower-beds. Five large trees, whose ages bespoke their acquaintance with Hogarth, showed his love of the beautiful as well as the useful, a mulberry, walnut, apricot, double-blossomed cherry, and a hawthorn: the last of these was a great favorite with my father, from its beauty, ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851 • Various

... English, a task of unusual difficulty. I regret to find that Mr. Payne and I are not always at one as to the author's meaning; in such cases I am bound to suppose that he is in the right, although the weakness of the flesh withholds me from anything beyond a formal submission. He is now upon a larger venture, promising us at last that complete Arabian Nights to which we have all ...
— Familiar Studies of Men & Books • Robert Louis Stevenson

... all these people in the same simple spirit. With one and all she was at home, for all were to her, by no merely formal phrase, "dearest brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus." One knows not whether to be more struck by the outspoken fearlessness of the woman or by her great adaptability. She could handle with plain directness ...
— Letters of Catherine Benincasa • Catherine Benincasa

... and found him in his study. The subject was duly opened, and, after some urging, he consented to deliver a public lecture. At the meeting of the Society on that week, a formal invitation was voted to Nat, and the time of ...
— The Bobbin Boy - or, How Nat Got His learning • William M. Thayer

... and resoluteness in the wife; and an immense pity felt by the poet's adorers for his trials by a persecuting Fate. During the summer and autumn, his mention of his wife to his correspondents became less frequent and more formal. His tone about his approaching "papaship" tells nothing. He was not likely to show to such men any good or natural feelings on the occasion. In December, his daughter, Augusta Ada, was born; and early in January, ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 40, February, 1861 • Various

... was beyond comparison the greatest power that had ever existed in the world. But its organisation was of an extreme laxity; it possessed no real common government; and its principal members were united rather by a community of institutions and ideas than by any formal ties. Moreover, it presented a more amazing diversity of racial types, of religions, and of grades of civilisation, than any other political fabric which had existed in history. Its development had assuredly ...
— The Expansion of Europe - The Culmination of Modern History • Ramsay Muir

... gently, "the world is going very well for you now. You are settled here, you like it, and things are running smoothly. Why not take a ride over to Lazette one of these days. There is a justice of the peace over there. It won't need to be a formal affair, you know. Just on the quiet—a sort of a lark. I have waited a ...
— The Range Boss • Charles Alden Seltzer

... he continued to ripen, and grow milder, and understand more generously the mingled characters of men. In the early days he once read me a bitter lecture; and I remember leaving his house in a fine spring afternoon, with the physical darkness of despair upon my eyesight. Long after he made me a formal retractation of the sermon and a formal apology for the pain he had inflicted; adding drolly, but truly, 'You see, at that time I was so much younger than you!' And yet even in those days there was much to learn from him; and above all his fine ...
— Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin • Robert Louis Stevenson

... back from the next publisher, with a formal note of rejection, Thyrsis made up his mind that he would concentrate his efforts upon this plan. So he ...
— Love's Pilgrimage • Upton Sinclair

... hundred persons virtually in my employ trying to get me business. After the first month I could discontinue with those who seemed likely to prove unremunerative. Almost any case would return in fees as much as my original disbursement. On the whole it seemed a pretty safe investment and the formal-looking contract would tend to increase the sense of obligation upon the contracting party of the first part. Nor did my forecast of the probabilities prove at all wide of the mark. Practically every one to whom I put the proposition readily accepted ...
— The Confessions of Artemas Quibble • Arthur Train

... let me hasten to say, I mean in this instance the average intelligent reader, who has passed through the usual formal education in literature, who reads books as well as newspapers and magazines, who, without calling himself a litterateur, would be willing to assert that he was fairly well read and reasonably fond of good reading. Your doctor, your lawyer, the president of your bank, and any educated business ...
— Definitions • Henry Seidel Canby

... boldness had come to him. He led Martha up to the grinning group, and said in his best singing voice, "Whut you laughin' at? Yes, I's popped de question, an' she says 'Yes,' an' long 'bout a yeah f'om now you kin all 'spec' a' invitation." This was a formal announcement. A shout arose from the happy-go-lucky people, who sorrowed alike in each other's sorrows, and joyed in each other's joys. They sat down at a table, and their health was drunk in cups of cider and ...
— The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... advanced and with a complacent smile said, 'The General always retires at nine, and I usually precede him,' upon which all arose, made their parting salutations, and withdrew." Nor was it only from the fatigues of formal entertaining that the wife saved her husband, Washington writing in 1793, "We remain in Philadelphia until the 10th instant. It was my wish to have continued there longer; but as Mrs. Washington was unwilling to leave me surrounded by the malignant fever which prevailed, I ...
— The True George Washington [10th Ed.] • Paul Leicester Ford

... and industry being thus speedily rewarded by the hand of Providence. His silk and wool mills were the best then in England for the usual Norwich manufactures, as also for other delicate productions, such as crape shawls and dress-fabrics. Although somewhat grave and formal in his discourse to strangers, at his genial board his formality soon disappeared, and Jack Deane, as has been said, passed a pleasanter evening than he had enjoyed for some time. Although profane music ...
— John Deane of Nottingham - Historic Adventures by Land and Sea • W.H.G. Kingston

... wind-bag all round her, and carrying her satin shoes under her arm. Joshua would not let her wait till she got indoors before changing them, as she proposed, but insisted on her performing that operation under a tree, so that they might enter as if they had not walked. He was nervously formal about such trifles, while Rosa took the whole proceeding—walk, dressing, dinner, and all—as a pastime. To Joshua it was a serious step ...
— Life's Little Ironies - A set of tales with some colloquial sketches entitled A Few Crusted Characters • Thomas Hardy

... after posting his letter to Constance Bride, he received her reply. It was much longer than he had expected. Beginning with a rather formal expression of interest in Dyce's views, Constance went on to say that she had already spoken of him to Lady Ogram, who would be very glad to make his acquaintance. He might call at Rivenoak whenever he liked; Lady Ogram generally had a short drive in the morning, but in the ...
— Our Friend the Charlatan • George Gissing

... an alternative policy," said Sir Bartholomew. "It has occurred to some of us who are interested in the matter—I am not now speaking with the authority of any ambassador, certainly not with the formal approval of our Foreign Office. It has occurred to me—I will put it that way. It has occurred to me that the matter might be settled quite satisfactorily to all parties, to the Emperor certainly if——The King of Megalia ...
— The Island Mystery • George A. Birmingham

... spoiled the charm of her success, as Dr. Beswick had foreseen. Doubt had made her cowardly, and there lurked in her mind a hope that she might no more be called upon to exercise her gift in the direction of faith-healing, and that she might thus without the necessity of a formal decision creep out of responsibility and painful notoriety in a matter concerning which she could not always feel absolutely sure of her ground. To this shrinking the revolt of her taste against such getters-on as Miss Bowyer had contributed, ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... in which it was declared, that if war should break out between France and England during the existence of that with the United States, it should be made a common cause; and that neither of the contracting parties should conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain without the formal consent of the other, first obtained; and they mutually engaged "not to lay down their arms until the independence of the United States shall have been formally, or tacitly assured by the treaty, or treaties that shall terminate ...
— The Life of George Washington, Vol. 2 (of 5) • John Marshall

... down to the evening meal, when a servant of Mr. Warmore arrived with a note, requesting the pleasure of Mr. Gordon's company to dinner that evening. It was not a simple formal invitation, but was so urgent that the young man could not refuse. He returned word through the servant that he accepted with pleasure the invitation and ...
— Brave Tom - The Battle That Won • Edward S. Ellis

... whole force of the plainfiff's case brought against the authenticity of an ancient deed, forming a link in their title, and of which, as it had never, been questioned nor suspected, they had prepared merely formal proof; and a verdict of the jury, obtained by a sort, of coup-de-main, pronounced the deed a forgery. Two tribunals have subsequently established the deed as authentic; but the plaintiff lived and died in the possession of the land in consequence of the verdict, while the law ...
— Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Complete • Matthew L. Davis

... to discover why there was no special embassy sent by this government to Turkey for the purpose of inviting the distinguished patriot Kossuth to visit America, (that matter being concluded in rather less formal fashion after the return home of the Hungarian committee of inquiry—a ship of our navy being despatched to carry him to our shores) it with equal ease may be understood why the Countess St. Auban after this remained ...
— The Purchase Price • Emerson Hough

... formed by compounding the pronoun with the verb are very common, and tend to preserve conversation from becoming stiff and formal. Nouns in the singular are sometimes compounded in like manner; as, "John's going by the early train," "Mary's caught a bird." Not many verbs beside is and has are thus compounded, and the practice should ...
— Slips of Speech • John H. Bechtel

... from their rides they brought the seeds and bulbs of wild flowers to plant in favoring nooks on the ranch. Along the foot trail which led down the side of the big canon to the intake of the water-pipe, they established their fernery. It was not a formal affair, and the ferns were left to themselves. Dede and Daylight merely introduced new ones from time to time, changing them from one wild habitat to another. It was the same with the wild lilac, ...
— Burning Daylight • Jack London

... he began, after silence had been obtained, "this isn't a very formal meeting, but it's a mighty important one. It's a clear case of Carpet-Tackers' Union against the State. What I want to know is—Is the State going to ...
— Lifted Masks - Stories • Susan Glaspell

... banner of the green cross, which bore the initials of the sovereign with a cross between, a crown surmounting every letter. Thus, with the emblems of their power, and accompanied by Rodrigo de Escoveda and Rodrigo Sanchez and some seamen, the boat rowed to the shore. They immediately took formal possession of the land, and the notary ...
— Little Masterpieces of Science: Explorers • Various

... orator should come forth, who would dilate upon the efficient cause, but disguise the ultimate and vicious one, would it not be apparent to every one that with the two most potent causes, the formal (that which gives moral value to an act) and the ultimate one, disguised, an eloquent man could extol such a wretched shadow of a virtue? But a man apt in logic will readily discover the deception; he will observe the absence of the formal cause, namely the right ...
— Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II - Luther on Sin and the Flood • Martin Luther

... divides itself essentially into great branches, one springing from, the other grafted on, the old Roman stock. The first is the Roman art itself, prolonged in a languid and degraded condition, and becoming at last a mere formal system, centered at the feet of Eastern empire, and thence generally called Byzantine. The other is the barbarous and incipient art of the Gothic nations, more or less coloured by Roman or Byzantine influence, and gradually increasing in life ...
— Giotto and his works in Padua • John Ruskin

... most precious moments of all to the teacher, when the formal lesson was completed, and he sat down for a little talk with his pupil. He occupied the stone which served her for a seat, while one arm loosely clasped the figure which stood between his knees. She patted his cheek, played with his rough collar and ...
— A Waif of the Mountains • Edward S. Ellis

... the simplest and most elementary arts are sufficiently congenial to the notions of an unpolished and infant era of society. Nor at a long subsequent period is there much resemblance between the formal and elderly goddess of Daedalian sculpture and the glorious and august Glaucopis of Homer—the maiden of celestial beauty as of unrivalled wisdom. I grant that the variety of her attributes renders it more than probable that Athene was greatly indebted, perhaps ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... on the ice-encumbered sea, were informally debating the propriety of making an unprovoked attack on the Dogrib Indians—whom they facetiously styled Fire-spouters—the red men were also holding a very formal and solemn council of war as to the advisability of making an assault on those presumptuous Eskimos, or eaters-of-raw-flesh, who ventured to pay an uncalled-for visit to the Greygoose ...
— The Walrus Hunters - A Romance of the Realms of Ice • R.M. Ballantyne

... were counted a very happy couple. But I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they ...
— The Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton, Part 2 (of 10) • Edith Wharton

... of a very rich family. It was a formal garden with straight walks, trellises, fountains, benches and neat flower beds laid out in squares and circles, now ...
— The Little House in the Fairy Wood • Ethel Cook Eliot

... the almost hopeless prospects which lay immediately before him—that the session was over, his salary all drawn, and his money all spent; that he had no resources and no work; that he did not know where to turn to earn even a week's board. Butler bade him be of good cheer, and, without any formal proposition or agreement, took him and his belongings to his own house and domesticated him there as a permanent guest, with Lincoln's tacit compliance rather than any definite consent. Later Lincoln shared a room and genial companionship, ...
— A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln - Condensed from Nicolay & Hay's Abraham Lincoln: A History • John G. Nicolay

... the place at which they were staying as much as they did, for though the country was very pretty, I had during the summer tour seen so much that surpassed it that I saw it at a disadvantage. Then, I have no fancy for gypsying, and the greatest taste for all the formal proprieties of life, and what I should call "silver fork existence" in general; and the inconveniences of a small country inn, without really affecting my comfort, disturb my decided preference for ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... a hopeful symptom, moreover, of improving taste, that I see more merit in the crowd of painters than I was at first competent to acknowledge. I could see some of their defects from the very first; but that is the earliest stage of connoisseurship, after a formal and ignorant admiration. Mounting a few steps higher, one sees beauties. But how much study, how many opportunities, are requisite to form and cultivate a taste! The Exhibition must be quite thrown away on ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... reaching the end of the formal document, "those red-tape chaps a' Whitehall haven't given you much time to ...
— Crown and Anchor - Under the Pen'ant • John Conroy Hutcheson

... the full crime, it declares forfeiture extending beyond the lives of the guilty parties; whereas the Constitution of the United States declares that "no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted." True, there is to be no formal attainder in this case; still, I think the greater punishment cannot be constitutionally inflicted, in a different form, for the ...
— The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Complete - Constitutional Edition • Abraham Lincoln

... eagerness after something new determined him to make inquiry after Falkland's island, and he sent out captain Byron, who, in the beginning of the year 1765, took, he says, a formal possession, in the name of ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 6 - Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons • Samuel Johnson

... light-hearted. He wished he had not bought Joan that magazine and thus deprived himself temporarily of the pleasure of her conversation; but that was the only flaw in his happiness. With the starting of the train, which might be considered the formal and official beginning of the delicate and dangerous enterprise on which he had embarked, he had definitely come to the conclusion that the life adventurous was the life for him. He had frequently suspected ...
— Something New • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... not far from Boston, one of those where the landscape architect lingers to study the possibilities of the formal side of his art in skilful adjustment of pillar, urn, pergola, and basin,—this garden is never out of flower. At many seasons Evan and I had visited it, early and late, only to find it one unbroken sheet of bloom. How was it possible, ...
— The Garden, You, and I • Mabel Osgood Wright

... workers, like unto others which had been established in several large places elsewhere, was published in June, 1825, and several meetings were held before December 27, when officers were chosen, and entry made of nearly 200 members, to start with, the subscription being 5/-per quarter. The formal opening took place March 21, 1826, the members assembling in Mount Zion Chapel, to hear an address from Mr. B. Cook, the vice-president. The class-rooms, library, and reading-rooms, were at the school attached to the Old Meeting House, ...
— Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham - A History And Guide Arranged Alphabetically • Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell

... Nance's feelings for Mr. Archer was admiration as for a superior being; and with this, his treatment, consciously or not, accorded happily. When he forgot her, she took the blame upon herself. His formal politeness was so exquisite that this essential brutality stood excused. His compliments, besides, were always grave and rational; he would offer reason for his praise, convict her of merit, and thus disarm suspicion. Nay, and the very hours when he forgot and remembered ...
— Lay Morals • Robert Louis Stevenson

... three-fourths of his salary with Planus for the Chebes' allowance, but he never asked any questions about them. Punctually on the last day of the month the little man appeared to collect his little income, stiff and formal in his dealings with Sigismond, as became an annuitant on duty. Madame Chebe had tried to obtain an interview with her son-in-law, whom she pitied and loved; but the mere appearance of her palm-leaf shawl on the steps put Sidonie's husband ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... The Bismarcks are as kind as ever—nothing can be more frank and cordial than her manners. I am there all day long. It is one of those houses where everyone does what he likes. The show apartments where they receive formal company are on the front of the house. Their living rooms, however, are a salon and dining-room at the back, opening upon the garden. Here there are young and old, grandparents and children and dogs all at once, eating, drinking, smoking, piano-playing, and pistol-firing (in the garden), all going ...
— Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire • James Wycliffe Headlam

... bloomed gayly enough for Adelaide Howard Hyde when she made her bridal tour to her new home; and cold as she found the aspect of that house, with its formal mahogany chairs, high-backed, and carved in grim festoons and ovals of incessant repetition,—its penitential couch of a sofa, where only the iron spine of a Revolutionary heroine could have found rest,—its pinched, starved, and double-starched portraits of defunct Hydes, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859 • Various

... Austria went in and policed the country, much as England went in and policed Egypt, and, from the material point of view, with similarly successful results. But, like England in Egypt, Austria was not sovereign there. Formal sovereignty still rested with the Turk. In 1909, during the Turkish revolution, Austria took the opportunity to throw off that nominal suzerainty. Russia protested, Austria mobilized against Serbia ...
— The European Anarchy • G. Lowes Dickinson

... celebrity elsewhere. On every hand stretch miles of tumbled meadows and craggy cliffs. Many are the excellent roads, upon which cluster, at intervals of miles, groups of hotels and camps. Here one may choose his own fashion of living, for these hostelries range from the most formal and luxurious hotel to the simplest collection of tents or log cabins around a central log dining structure. Some of these camps are picturesque, the growth of years from the original log hut. Some are ...
— The Book of the National Parks • Robert Sterling Yard

... suggested that we have pretty soon a series of parties or receptions, just for the young people to get together and bring new ones in one at a time, just as the boys in college have rushing-parties, you know. We'll have a reception, real formal, with regular eats from a caterer, and flowers and invitations and everything, for the first one; and a Hallowe'en party for the October meeting, and a banquet for the November meeting, just about Thanksgiving time, you know. Oh, it's going to be lots of fun. And, ...
— Cloudy Jewel • Grace Livingston Hill

... and formal notes should be more stately and ceremonious. In formal notes the third person is generally used instead of the first and the second; there is no Introduction, no Conclusion, no Signature, only the name of the Place and the Date at the ...
— Higher Lessons in English • Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg

... anchor, those steadfast, earnest men, whose God was the Lord, and whose king was James of England, gathered in the Mayflower cabin and, by a formal statement written and signed, formed themselves into a civil state. Note the words of the compact: "In the name of God, amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King James—" ...
— Ten Great Events in History • James Johonnot

... the wardroom, took the wind out of his sails. He decided that she had been making a fool of him and that he had been wasting his time. With a desperate attempt at preserving his dignity he took her back to Maple's, conscious all the time, of her tantalising beauty. He had planned a formal goodbye; but when he told her that his ship was sailing on the next day, she said, quite simply and with an unusual tenderness in her eyes that she was sorry. "If only you meant what you say..." he said, clutching at ...
— The Tragic Bride • Francis Brett Young

... been taken off, but the upstroke of the 'J' runs on continuously into the 'a.' More naturally it would be just the other way. In these two letters the writer would be signing his name more hurriedly than to a formal deed, and would be much more likely to run his letters into each other than when making ...
— A Girl of the Commune • George Alfred Henty

... had left their homes along the banks of the Danube to look for pastures new, they had spent some time among the mountains of Macedonia. Ever since, the Greeks had maintained certain more or less formal relations with the people of this northern country. The Macedonians from their side had kept themselves well informed about ...
— The Story of Mankind • Hendrik van Loon

... decided that it was a good thing, and did not refuse the general's widow his formal consent to any proposition in regard to his children's education. As for the slaps she had given him, he drove all over the town ...
— The Brothers Karamazov • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... distinction to be drawn between acrobatics pure and simple, and acrobatic dancing, which is quite another matter. It is, of course, acrobatic dancing that you see on the stage accompanying and accentuating the more formal dancing steps in musical comedies, revues, and spectacular performances, and it is this acrobatic dancing that receives wide attention in the teaching of the dancing art ...
— The Art of Stage Dancing - The Story of a Beautiful and Profitable Profession • Ned Wayburn

... programme is long enough for to-day, Ken," said The Mackhai dryly. "You will excuse me, Mr Blande," he continued, with formal politeness; "I have ...
— Three Boys - or the Chiefs of the Clan Mackhai • George Manville Fenn

... is still the litmus paper," he enunciated in the formal manner of the lecturer. "I have not changed it into something else. Then what did I do? I merely changed the arrangement of its molecules. Where, at first, it absorbed all colors from the light but red, its molecular structure was so changed that it absorbed red and all ...
— Moon-Face and Other Stories • Jack London

... day of the session in which the bill was introduced, though very favorably received by the senate, a motion was made to postpone it until the next session. In reference to this motion, without attempting to make a formal speech, Mr. Rice explained briefly the object contemplated by the bill. His remarks relating as they did to a subject of public interest, were reported and published. The bill, at a subsequent session, resulted in establishing the present ...
— Cleveland Past and Present - Its Representative Men, etc. • Maurice Joblin



Words linked to "Formal" :   fine arts, pro forma, evening clothes, cotilion, evening dress, ceremonial, logical, dance, stiff, masked ball, eveningwear, buckram, black-tie, full-dress, gown, literary, dress, official, prescribed, dignified, nominal, perfunctory, cotillion, positive, beaux arts, form-only, fancy-dress ball, ceremonious, promenade, rhetorical, masquerade ball, nonrepresentational, white-tie, informal, starchy, titular, prom



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