ritual

adjective
rit·​u·​al | \ ˈri-chə-wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio) , -chəl; ˈrich-wəl\

Definition of ritual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

ritual

noun

Definition of ritual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the established form for a ceremony specifically : the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony
2a : 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

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Other Words from ritual

Adjective

ritually adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

New York City health officials have warned that the holiday, with its large get-togethers and long, ritual meals, risks spreading measles, which is highly contagious and easily transmitted. Kate King, WSJ, "Measles Outbreak Upends Passover Traditions," 17 Apr. 2019 Until recently, women ate separately from men during ritual feasts in traditional communities. Benjamin Kemper, Smithsonian, "Raising a Glass to Armenia’s Elaborate Toasting Tradition," 13 July 2018 Fish bones have turned up in middens and as ritual items at other inland cities in Maya territory, as well, suggesting a strong link between coastal and inland markets. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Small Mayan saltworks could have supplied thousands, preserved food," 9 Oct. 2018 In Judaism, the mikveh, a ritual bath, is used by Jewish women to achieve ritual purity after finishing menstruation or giving birth. Christina Cacouris, Marie Claire, "This Artist Uses Gold and Glitter to Destigmatize Period Blood," 11 Sep. 2018 The charter insists that freedom of religion and conscience protects more than the inner beliefs of individuals and the ritual practices of communities. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Freedom of Belief Bridges America’s Divides," 11 Dec. 2018 Here, the officer has become a species of super villain with a connection to some mysterious, ritual power. Sharon Mizota, latimes.com, "Review: Police, violence and an artist who paints to provoke," 9 July 2018 Nothing quite ups the tawdry factor in an already seamy situation than these ritual apologies. Marcia Desanctis, Town & Country, "Mark Sanford, Act II," 14 Feb. 2013 This is ritual music, rewarding of patience and offering slowly unfolding and unexpected revelations. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, "‘Igbó Alákorin (The Singer’s Grove), Vol. I & II’ by David Virelles and ‘Pillars’ by Tyshawn Sorey Reviews," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What sets a quinceañera apart from a wedding is the symbolic dances and rituals that help tell the narrative of a girl transforming into a young woman. Thalia Juarez, Washington Post, "A glimpse into a tradition celebrated in Latino communities," 15 June 2019 Huettl, a graduate programs recruiter at Marquette University, has been doing this fitness ritual for about a year. Alexandria Groth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette University employees sign up for fitness trackers that record their steps, sleep," 14 June 2019 New shamans are modifying the traditional ayahuasca rituals. The Economist, "Indigenous Colombians fear losing their hallucinogenic brews," 14 June 2019 Here are some rituals that are no longer required in many households. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "20 everyday tasks that nobody does anymore," 13 June 2019 Practicing this ritual provides Amankonah a sense of continuity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "U-T All-Academic Team Captains for spring sports," 12 June 2019 The big day What sets a quinceañera apart from a wedding is the symbolic dances and rituals that help tell the narrative of a girl transforming into a young woman. Thalia Juarez, baltimoresun.com, "A glimpse into a centuries-old tradition celebrated in Baltimore's Latino communities," 10 June 2019 The nuptial rituals feel similarly stale and unkillable: the proposal, the vows, the first dance. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "People Are Still Getting Married, and This Book Is Here to Help," 10 June 2019 Hundreds of candles are lit for an elaborate ritual. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Luzia’: A watery wonderland under the big top making its way to Hartford’s Market Street," 6 June 2019

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

Adjective

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1620, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ritual

Adjective

Latin ritualis, from ritus rite

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Learn More about ritual

Dictionary Entries near ritual

ritsu

ritter

rittmaster

ritual

ritualism

rituality

ritualize

Statistics for ritual

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ritual

The first known use of ritual was in 1570

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More Definitions for ritual

ritual

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ritual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: done as part of a ceremony or ritual
: always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time

ritual

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ritual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a formal ceremony or series of acts that is always performed in the same way
: an act or series of acts done in a particular situation and in the same way each time

ritual

noun
rit·​u·​al | \ ˈri-chə-wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio) \

Kids Definition of ritual

: a ceremony or series of acts that is always performed the same way

ritual

noun
rit·​u·​al | \ ˈrich-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce ritual (audio) \

Medical Definition of ritual

: any act or practice regularly repeated in a set precise manner for relief of anxiety obsessive-compulsive rituals

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Comments on ritual

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