Definition of ritual in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈriCH(o͞o)əl/


1A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order: the ancient rituals of Christian worship the role of ritual in religion
More example sentences
  • They bring in priests and religious officials to perform rituals over the garrison, hoping it will drive me away.
  • The couple begins their wedding day with a religious ritual in the early morning and by receiving blessings from monks.
  • They cheer US forces for bringing down a despised regime and delight in their newfound freedom to talk frankly or celebrate long-forbidden religious rituals.
1.1The prescribed order of performing a ceremony, especially one characteristic of a particular religion or church.
Example sentences
  • For Catholics the ‘works’ of the sacraments necessarily involved the physical rituals prescribed by the Church.
  • The liturgicals saw the road to salvation in joining the particular church, obeying its rituals, and making use of its sacraments; the individual was not alone with only his emotions and the state to protect him.
  • A woman who decides not to observe the rituals and customs dictated by religion has always been seen as a harbinger of conflict, disorder and pain within a family.
ceremony, rite, ceremonial, observance;
service, sacrament, liturgy, worship;
act, practice, custom, tradition, convention, formality, procedure, protocol
1.2A series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone: her visits to Joy became a ritual
More example sentences
  • He finished his other routine hygiene rituals, meticulously following some unwritten agenda.
  • She likes everything to be in the right place at the right time, and she has these rituals which she always follows.
  • Checking the soccer results was a ritual they followed most Saturday evenings during the soccer season.


1Relating to or done as a religious or solemn rite: ritual burial
More example sentences
  • His duties are to lead prayers and to perform ritual sacrifices on religious holidays and special occasions.
  • Tantra set out ritual practices, religious proscriptions, yogic techniques, and philosophical doctrine.
  • At the centre of religious and ritual practice is a division between ‘this’ and ‘the other’ world.
1.1(Of an action) arising from convention or habit: the players gathered for the ritual pregame huddle
More example sentences
  • As I grew, the dream seemed to come every month or so, like a ritual meeting, I later found that every full moon I would have the dream.
  • The surreal ritual humiliation endured as he denounced me while completing my $31 purchase.
  • The ritual humiliation and abuse begin immediately and rapidly threaten to spiral out of control.
ceremonial, ritualistic, prescribed, set, formal;
sacramental, liturgical;
traditional, conventional


Late 16th century (as an adjective): from Latin ritualis, from ritus (see rite).

Words that rhyme with ritual

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