cer·e·mo·ny | \ˈser-ə-ˌmō-nē, 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

The official ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility took place in April. Tracy Trobridge, Howard County Times, "Glenwood Lions Club recognizes police and fire heroes [Glenwood/Glenelg/Dayton]," 12 July 2018 Netflix typically only gets a handful of wins on Emmy night and during the creative arts ceremony. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: How Netflix Edged HBO and What It Means for This Year's Race," 12 July 2018 Meghan Markle attends the opening ceremony on day 1 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at Air Canada Centre on September 23, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Rachel King, Fortune, "Meghan Markle Is Being Credited With Boosting Aritzia's Earnings. But Is the 'Meghan Effect' Real?," 13 July 2018 He was not allowed to go to Oslo to receive the prize; Liu was also barred from attending the ceremony. Jane Perlez, BostonGlobe.com, "Liu Xia, detained widow of Nobel Peace laureate, leaves China," 10 July 2018 Two of McCaslin’s nephews, Tom and Pat McCaslin of Omaha, attended Tuesday’s ceremony for Canty that included a lone bugler who played Taps, a military band and a seven-member honor guard firing three volleys from their rifles. courant.com, "WWII Veteran John Canty Of Winsted Buried at Arlington," 10 July 2018 He was not allowed to go to Oslo to receive the prize; Ms. Liu was also barred from attending the ceremony. Jane Perlez, New York Times, "Liu Xia, Detained Widow of Nobel Peace Laureate, Leaves China," 10 July 2018 Neither the Queen nor Prince Philip will attend the ceremony this afternoon at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Are Not Attending Prince Louis's Christening," 9 July 2018 No firm dates have been announced for the bridge's opening — a project estimated to cost between $2.1 billion and $4.5 billion — but Howe's children plan to attend a special ceremony for its grand opening whenever that may be. Chris Nelsen, Detroit Free Press, "Gordie Howe's children: No grudges toward Morouns over bridge opposition," 7 July 2018

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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Learn More about ceremony

Phrases Related to ceremony

stand on ceremony

Statistics for ceremony

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ceremony

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

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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 \
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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