To formulate is to come up with a plan. If you are locked out of your house, you'll need to formulate a plan to get back inside — preferably one that doesn't involve kicking in the door.

You can also use the verb formulate to mean "put into words." If too many people are showing up at your work in inappropriate clothes, your company may formulate a dress code policy. They may, for example, decree that shoes must be worn at all times. The verb can also mean "to develop a formula for something." If the dog ate the chicken you were going to use in your dinner, you may need to formulate a new recipe for chicken-less pot pie.

Definitions of formulate

v prepare according to a formula

Type of:
create from raw material, create from raw stuff
make from scratch

v elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses

develop, explicate
elaborate by the unfolding of a musical idea and by the working out of the rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme
acquire, develop, evolve
gain through experience
develop and work out fully in one's mind
redevelop, reformulate
formulate or develop again, of an improved theory or hypothesis
Type of:
conjecture, hypothecate, hypothesise, hypothesize, speculate, suppose, theorise, theorize
believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds

v come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort

contrive, devise, excogitate, forge, invent
Type of:
create by mental act, create mentally
create mentally and abstractly rather than with one's hands

v put into words or an expression

“He formulated his concerns to the board of trustees”
articulate, give voice, phrase, word
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
direct or put; seek an answer to
lexicalise, lexicalize
make or coin into a word or accept a new word into the lexicon of a language
dogmatise, dogmatize
state as a dogma
formularise, formularize
express as a formula
cast, couch, frame, put, redact
formulate in a particular style or language
Type of:
evince, express, show
give expression to

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.