cer·​e·​mo·​ny | \ ˈser-ə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce ceremony (audio) , ˈse-rə- \
plural ceremonies

Definition of ceremony

1 : a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention the marriage ceremony
2a : a conventional act of politeness or etiquette the ceremony of introduction
b : an action performed only formally with no deep significance the custom had probably been long a mere ceremony— C. Thirlwall
c : a routine action performed with elaborate pomp the weekly ceremony of giving out the wages to the help
3a : prescribed procedures : usages the ceremony attending an inauguration
b : observance of an established code of civility or politeness opened the door without ceremony and strode in

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Examples of ceremony in a Sentence

There will be a ceremony honoring the town's veterans next week. With great ceremony, the children presented each of the visitors with a gift. He told them abruptly and without ceremony that they would have to leave.
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Recent Examples on the Web Former Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo posthumously received the Career Excellence Award from the Baseball Writers’ Association on Saturday during a ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2021 During the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday, tennis star Naomi Osaka made a surprise appearance to light the Olympic cauldron. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, 24 July 2021 During the ceremony Friday, the organizers paused to remember the nine members of the Israeli team who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. NBC News, 24 July 2021 The appeal was filed Friday during the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, which the team did not attend, according to ESPN. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 23 July 2021 Nurse/boxer Arisa Tsubata performs during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. Sean Gregory, Time, 23 July 2021 Officials promised that the relay would conclude during the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday, July 23 at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 23 July 2021 Dingilius Wallace, one of three athletes from Palau at the Tokyo Olympics, took a picture with an Alief T-shirt inside Olympic Stadium during the ceremony. Matt Young, Chron, 23 July 2021 And finally Protestors gathered outside Olympic Stadium in Tokyo during the opening ceremony. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ceremony.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ceremony

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ceremony

Middle English ceremonie, from Middle French ceremonie, from Latin caerimonia

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Time Traveler for ceremony

Time Traveler

The first known use of ceremony was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ceremony



Cerenkov radiation

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Statistics for ceremony

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ceremony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremony. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for ceremony



English Language Learners Definition of ceremony

: a formal act or event that is a part of a social or religious occasion
: very polite or formal behavior


cer·​e·​mo·​ny | \ ˈser-ə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce ceremony (audio) \
plural ceremonies 1

Kids Definition of ceremony

: an act or series of acts performed in some regular way according to fixed rules especially as part of a social or religious event the marriage ceremony
2 : very polite behavior : formality "Who are you?" the lady demanded without ceremony.

More from Merriam-Webster on ceremony

Nglish: Translation of ceremony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ceremony for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ceremony


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