cer·​e·​mo·​ni·​ous ˌser-ə-ˈmō-nē-əs How to pronounce ceremonious (audio)
: devoted to forms and ceremony
ceremonious courtiers
: of, relating to, or constituting a ceremony
a ceremonious occasion
: according to formal usage or prescribed procedures
the cold and ceremonious politeness of her curtseyJane Austen
: marked by ceremony
a ceremonious procession
ceremoniously adverb
ceremoniousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for ceremonious

ceremonial, ceremonious, formal, conventional mean marked by attention to or adhering strictly to prescribed forms.

ceremonial and ceremonious both imply strict attention to what is prescribed by custom or by ritual, but ceremonial applies to things that are associated with ceremonies

a ceremonial offering

, ceremonious to persons given to ceremony or to acts attended by ceremony.

made his ceremonious entrance

formal applies both to things prescribed by and to persons obedient to custom and may suggest stiff, restrained, or old-fashioned behavior.

a formal report
the headmaster's formal manner

conventional implies accord with general custom and usage

conventional courtesy

and may suggest a stodgy lack of originality or independence.

conventional fiction

Examples of ceremonious in a Sentence

She read the announcement in a very ceremonious way. a century ago everyday life was much more ceremonious than in our anything-goes era
Recent Examples on the Web Passover is a ceremonious occasion to rejoice in Judaism, especially during the first family meal or Seder, according to britannica.com. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Apr. 2024 Isabella then celebrated the recovery milestone with a hearty and ceremonious ringing of the bell, also posing with her radiotherapy mask. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2024 MacGowan lurches up, almost knocks over a stool, and—drawing one last ceremonious tug off the Michelob—staggers off to the john. Chris Norris, SPIN, 30 Nov. 2023 Passengers enjoy caroling alongside characters from the film and even get a ceremonious hole punched in their festive golden ticket. Talia Avakian, Travel + Leisure, 18 Oct. 2023 Some verge on outlandish, like shoe-box kitchens with showers built into the walls, while others sport anachronistic details, like a ceremonious 20th-century oven. Jess Eng, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 But this isn't true: the Electoral Count Act of 1887 limits the vice president's role to a ceremonious one, making sure the votes are opened and read out. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 2 Aug. 2023 So, consider this is a homecoming for Hawkings, or at least a ceremonious closing of the loop as his name rises to top billing. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 28 July 2023 This ceremonious, ritualistic, musical self-awareness was thoroughly disarming in Narucki’s production, helped along by the poise and technical polish of the musicians. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ceremonious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ceremonious was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near ceremonious

Cite this Entry

“Ceremonious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremonious. Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


cer·​e·​mo·​ni·​ous ˌser-ə-ˈmō-nē-əs How to pronounce ceremonious (audio)
: careful to observe forms and ceremony : formal
ceremoniously adverb
ceremoniousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on ceremonious

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