rite of passage


plural rites 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Why political leaders flock to Selma Attendance at the anniversary crossing of the bridge has become a rite of passage for presidents and other politicians. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2023 Even for the youngest, street hockey is a rite of passage on Boston streets. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Mar. 2023 Young adults are often encouraged to leave the nest as a rite of passage to establish financial independence and build a life and career away from their parents. Isabella Simonetti, New York Times, 1 Mar. 2023 For many start-ups, pursuing VC funding seems like a rite of passage. Yule Georgieva, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2023 For young and emerging writers, literary journals are not only an opportunity to have their work published and seen, but a sometimes-necessary rite of passage to being published in other literary journals. Maddie Browning, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Feb. 2023 Post Malone and Kacey Musgraves are among the fellow music arts to have joined in on the Australian rite of passage on previous tours. Ashley Iasimone, Billboard, 20 Feb. 2023 Get the shingles vaccine For many people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, getting chickenpox was a rite of passage. Jay Maddock, Fortune Well, 17 Feb. 2023 Dale Strong, the freshman congressman representing north Alabama, will be taking part in a sort of rite of passage for Republican newcomers in Congress: Visiting the Mexican border. Paul Gattis | Pgattis@al.com, al, 15 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rite of passage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rite of passage was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near rite of passage

Cite this Entry

“Rite of passage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rite%20of%20passage. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

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