cer·​e·​mo·​ny ˈser-ə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce ceremony (audio)
plural ceremonies
: a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention
the marriage ceremony
: a conventional act of politeness or etiquette
the ceremony of introduction
: an action performed only formally with no deep significance
the custom had probably been long a mere ceremonyC. Thirlwall
: a routine action performed with elaborate pomp
Liz Claiborne Inc. chief executive officer William McComb and Liz Claiborne New York creative director Isaac Mizrahi rang the closing bell [of the New York Stock Exchange], a daily ceremony they followed with the first-ever fashion show on the trading floor.Marc Karimzadeh
: prescribed procedures : usages
the ceremony attending an inauguration
: observance of an established code of civility or politeness
opened the door without ceremony and strode in

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Last month, Swift traveled to Beverly Hills to attend the Golden Globes ceremony, where Eras Tour, directed by Sam Wrench, was among the movies vying for the first-ever award for best cinematic and box office achievement. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Feb. 2024 Just hours after the crowning ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the Duke of Sussex headed to the airport to return home — and mark Prince Archie's 4th birthday, which fell on the same day as the royal event. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 An aftershock of that quake had interrupted his inauguration ceremony. TIME, 7 Feb. 2024 Dion presented Taylor Swift with Album of the Year during the ceremony, although Swift has been criticized online for not appearing to acknowledge the veteran musician while accepting the award from her. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024 Also sold out: the fest’s Maltin Modern Master Award ceremony honoring Robert Downey Jr. on Feb. 9. Zoe Hewitt, Variety, 7 Feb. 2024 At a groundbreaking ceremony for improvements to the county’s central district wastewater treatment plant last week, the Mayor reminded the crowd of attendees about Sean’s impact. Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 Punjabi-Canadian artist Karan Aujla, a cover star for Billboard Canada’s inaugural digital cover, was also announced as a performer at the upcoming Junos ceremony at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Richard Trapunski, Billboard, 6 Feb. 2024 As south Londoners, the couple opted for a civil ceremony at Lambeth Town Hall followed by a wedding lunch at The Camberwell Arms. Rebecca Cope, Vogue, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ceremony

Cite this Entry

“Ceremony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremony. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cer·​e·​mo·​ny ˈser-ə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce ceremony (audio)
plural ceremonies
: a formal act or series of acts performed in some regular way according to fixed rules
graduation ceremonies
: very polite behavior : formality
dined without ceremony

More from Merriam-Webster on ceremony

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