for·mi·da·ble (fôrm-d-bl, fôr-md-) KEY
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin formdbilis, from formdre, to fear, from formd, fear
formi·da·bili·ty or formi·da·ble·ness(Noun), formi·da·bly(Adverb)
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, appears to be on the rise in American English. The traditional pronunciation is apparently still preferred by a large majority of educated speakers, however. A recent survey shows that 80 percent of the Usage Panel use the pronunciation (fôrm-d-bl), while 14 percent use (fôr-md-bl). A few Panelists approved both pronunciations.