\ˈrīt \

Definition of rite 

1a : a prescribed form or manner governing the words or actions for a ceremony

b : the ceremonial practices of a church or group of churches

2 : a ceremonial act or action initiation rites

3 : a division of the Christian church using a distinctive liturgy

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Examples of rite in a Sentence

Incense is often burned in their religious rites. the annual summer rite of loading up the car for the big family vacation

Recent Examples on the Web

Playing outside is a rite of American childhood, and kids who do so get better grades and are more creative, less aggressive and more physically fit. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Latinas Making Change: Marisa Aurora Quiroz," 9 July 2014 Most of the nearly 500,000 Torajans in the Parinding Valley are Christian, according to National Geographic, but their funeral rites trace a direct route to the island of Sulawesi's traditional religion, Aluk To Dolo, or Way of the Ancestors. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "A man was crushed to death beneath his mother’s coffin," 18 June 2018 Odd Fellows are known for using human skeletons in their initiation rites as symbols of impermanence. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "A rural Maryland chapter of the Odd Fellows society fights to save its 1850s building — and memories within," 25 Apr. 2018 Experimenting with your bangs is a rite of beauty passage for everyone, even Pikachu. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Kaia Gerber Rocked Miniature Bangs on the Runway," 4 Oct. 2018 The two went to a Buddhist temple to get a monk's blessings, a rite meant to get rid of bad luck. Sopheng Cheang, Fox News, "Cambodian reporters charged with spying granted bail," 21 Aug. 2018 After their release, the two journalists went to a Buddhist temple to get a monk’s blessings, a rite meant to get rid of bad luck. Sopheng Cheang, The Seattle Times, "2 Cambodian reporters charged with spying released on bail," 21 Aug. 2018 Mainstream churches viewed them as a cult, and the threat from North Korea led many South Koreans to regard military service almost as a sacred rite. New York Times, "South Korea Must Offer Alternatives to Military Draft, Court Rules," 28 June 2018 Should Catholics be allowed to share Communion, one of their church’s most sacred rites, with their Protestant spouses? Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "The Battle Over Who Can Take Communion," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rite.' 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 rite

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rite

Middle English, from Latin ritus; akin to Greek arithmos number — more at arithmetic

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Statistics for rite

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for rite

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

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English Language Learners Definition of rite

: an act that is part of a usually religious ceremony


\ˈrīt \

Kids Definition of rite

: an act performed in a ceremony

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More from Merriam-Webster on rite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rite

Spanish Central: Translation of rite

Nglish: Translation of rite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rite for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rite

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