rite of passage

plural rites of passage

Definition of rite of passage

: a ritual, event, or experience that marks or constitutes a major milestone or change in a person's life Rites of passage celebrate the social movement of individuals into and out of groups or into or out of statuses of critical importance to the individual and to the community. Reproduction, the achievement of manhood and womanhood, marriage, and death are the principal worldwide occasions for rites of passage.— Marvin Harris For them the two years of missionary work, with the rigorous bootcamp-style training preceding it, is a rite of passage between graduation and marriage, adolescence and adult life.— Malise Ruthven Today, when each year American society becomes more complex, a veritable tapestry of nationalities, the strongest of our common threads may well be the rites of passage all immigrants face.— Harold Holzer The author, grandson of the poet Allen Tate, dropped out of Sewanee University after going through the by-now familiar 1960's rite of passage of drugs, sex, and antiwar demonstrations …— Caroline Seebohm — compare initiation rite

First Known Use of rite of passage

1897, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for rite of passage

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The first known use of rite of passage was in 1897

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rite of intensification

rite of passage


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Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rite of passage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rite%20of%20passage. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for rite of passage

rite of passage


English Language Learners Definition of rite of passage

: an act that is a symbol of an important change in someone's life

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rite of passage


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