Entries linking to formulate
1630s, "words used in a ceremony or ritual" (earlier as a Latin word in English), from Latin formula "form, draft, contract, regulation;" in law, "a rule, method;" literally "small form," diminutive of forma "form" (see form (n.)). Modern sense is colored by Carlyle's use (1837) of the word in a sense of "rule slavishly followed without understanding" [OED]. From 1706 as "a prescription, a recipe;" mathematical use is from 1796; chemistry sense is from 1842. In motor racing, "class or specification of a car" (usually by engine size), 1927.
verbal suffix for Latin verbs in -are, identical with -ate (1). Old English commonly made verbs from adjectives by adding a verbal ending to the word (such as gnornian "be sad, mourn," gnorn "sad, depressed"), but as the inflections wore off English words in late Old and early Middle English, there came to be no difference between the adjective and the verb in dry, empty, warm, etc. Thus accustomed to the identity of adjectival and verbal forms of a word, the English, when they began to expand their Latin-based vocabulary after c. 1500, simply made verbs from Latin past-participial adjectives without changing their form (such as aggravate, substantiate) and it became the custom that Latin verbs were Englished from their past participle stems.
updated on December 20, 2014
Dictionary entries near formulate