ritual

1 of 2

adjective

rit·​u·​al ˈri-chə-wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio)
-chəl;
ˈrich-wəl
1
: of or relating to rites or a ritual : ceremonial
a ritual dance
2
: according to religious law
ritual purity
3
: done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol
ritual handshakes
ritual background checks
ritually adverb

ritual

2 of 2

noun

1
: the established form for a ceremony
specifically : the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony
2
a
: ritual observance
specifically : a system of rites
b
: a ceremonial act or action
c
: an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner

Examples of ritual in a Sentence

Noun The priest will perform the ritual. He was buried simply, without ceremony or ritual. the daily ritual of preparing breakfast His day-to-day life is based on ritual.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
One of the most likely scenarios, researchers said, is that the crops were placed in the bog, which used to be a lake, alongside a human corpse as part of a ritual sacrifice related to the harvest season. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 6 June 2024 In few countries is the ritual gathering around a table as important. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 29 May 2024
Noun
Reviewers have also praised the lavender and chamomile scent as a nice addition to their bedtime ritual. Clint Davis, Peoplemag, 7 June 2024 After rituals, the relaxation room encourages guests to sip tea and move the rake around the miniature Zen sand gardens. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for ritual 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ritual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin ritualis, from ritus rite

First Known Use

Adjective

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ritual was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near ritual

Cite this Entry

“Ritual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritual. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

ritual

1 of 2 adjective
rit·​u·​al ˈrich(ə-)wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio)
ˈrich-əl
1
: of or relating to rites or a ritual
a ritual dance
2
: according to religious law or social custom
ritually
adverb

ritual

2 of 2 noun
1
: an established form for a ceremony
2
a
: a system of rites
b
: a ceremonial act or action
c
: a formal and customarily repeated act or series of acts

Medical Definition

ritual

noun
rit·​u·​al ˈrich-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio)
: any act or practice regularly repeated in a set precise manner for relief of anxiety
obsessive-compulsive rituals

More from Merriam-Webster on ritual

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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