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 On this day in 1965, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a multi-purpose stadium for San Diego in Mission Valley. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Mission Valley stadium construction began with a bang in 1965," 18 Dec. 2020 The ceremony was held virtually, but past inductees include towering figures such as Chuck Yeager, Amelia Earhart and Bill Boeing. Dallas News, "Tammie Jo Shults honored among aviation greats two years after harrowing Southwest Airlines flight," 11 Dec. 2020 In the past, the ceremony has been held inside the building. Emily Opilo, baltimoresun.com, "Nick Mosby sworn in as Baltimore City Council president; five new members join council," 10 Dec. 2020 This year's PEN America ceremony was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis teen receives prestigious award for recording George Floyd video," 10 Dec. 2020 However, a closed ceremony involving a small number of veterans will be held, with a moment of silence observed at 7:55 a.m. Jamie Landers, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona to commemorate 79th anniversary of Pearl Harbor with lowered flags, flyover," 8 Dec. 2020 Senate President Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, said the smaller, 36-member Senate will also be sworn in outdoors in a ceremony that would only be changed due to severe weather. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Connecticut legislature will be sworn in outdoors due to coronavirus pandemic," 26 Dec. 2020 The Heisman Trophy winner will be awarded Jan. 5 in a virtual ceremony. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Justin Fields not among Heisman Trophy finalists, ending Buckeyes’ streak," 25 Dec. 2020 The winner will be announced Jan. 5 on ESPN in a ceremony held virtually instead of Times Square because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Alabama has 2 Heisman finalists, Najee Harris 5th in voting," 25 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for ceremony

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ceremony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremony. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ceremony


How to pronounce ceremony (audio)

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.

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Comments on ceremony

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