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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Although the internet has been buzzing about the nuptials, the newlyweds have kept the ceremony on the low-down. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Riverdale's Vanessa Morgan Got Married and Her Wedding Dress is Absolutely Gorgeous," 7 Jan. 2020 Poehler cohosted the ceremony that year with her longtime friend and Saturday Night Live costar Tina Fey and the pair made a joke at Swift's expense during the show. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift and Amy Poehler Have Called Time on Their "Feud"," 6 Jan. 2020 Film footage of the ceremony at which FDR signed the Social Security Act into law shows Perkins moving restlessly behind him, even rolling her eyes through the speechmaking. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "On Courage," 6 Jan. 2020 The main funeral ceremony will be held in Tehran on Monday where Khamenei will lead prayers. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Thousands mourn those killed in U.S. strike as world awaits Iran response," 4 Jan. 2020 The wine seems to flow freely at the Beverly Hilton hotel ballroom, where the ceremonies are held. oregonlive, "Golden Globes 2020: How to watch and stream the ceremony hosted by Ricky Gervais," 4 Jan. 2020 This year, Ricky Gervais is backing hosting the ceremony for a record-breaking fifth time. Katie Bourque, Good Housekeeping, "How to Watch and Stream the 2020 Golden Globes Red Carpet and Ceremony," 4 Jan. 2020 The various ceremonies certainly have the capacity to surprise—remember the La La Land vs. Moonlight Oscars shake-up heard 'round the world?—but none more so than the famously unpredictable Golden Globes. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Golden Globes 2020: Our Predictions For Who Will Win," 3 Jan. 2020 Krueger's swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Assembly Chamber. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Casey Krueger's dream of being a game warden leads to the top spot in Wisconsin DNR enforcement," 3 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ceremony

Time Traveler for ceremony

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ceremony

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ceremony.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceremony. Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ceremony

What made you want to look up ceremony? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!