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Syllabification: rite
Pronunciation: /rīt

Definition of rite in English:


1A religious or other solemn ceremony or act: the rite of communion fertility rites
More example sentences
  • The recipient must be an American boy or girl celebrating a religious rite: a first communion, confirmation, bar or bat mitzvah.
  • Though suggestive of mystic, pagan rites of purification and primitivism, the film, like all true surrealism, outrageously defies attempts at pigeonholing analysis and close reading.
  • It is thought they may have been killed as part of some religious rites but no one really knows and I wonder if, in the future, any finders of these human remains will be similarly appalled and mystified.
1.1A body of customary observances characteristic of a church or a part of it: the Byzantine rite
More example sentences
  • Byzantine rites and customs, in particular the practice of a married clergy, presented a serious problem for the established American Catholic world dominated largely by the Irish.
1.2A social custom, practice, or conventional act: the family Christmas rite
More example sentences
  • Such rites are practised in joint consultative committees, grievance procedures, procedures for disputes resolution and the like.
  • Unlike deliberately constructed visions, the myths we live and work by often remain unseen, residing incognito in our daily rituals, rites, customs, and metaphors.
  • The rites and customs of the Old South no longer work.


Middle English: from Latin ritus '(religious) usage'.


rite of passage

A ceremony or event marking an important stage in someone’s life, especially birth, puberty, marriage, and death: a novel that depicts the state of adolescence and the rites of passage that lead to adulthood
More example sentences
  • Universal compulsory military service for a period of at least sixteen months has been mandatory for all eighteen-year-old males and marked an important rite of passage into adulthood.
  • Marriage is another important rite of passage.
  • The major rite of passage in adulthood is marriage.

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