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

Example Sentences

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
The answer is with efficiency, panache, ritual, delicious freshness, and joy. National Geographic, 12 Jan. 2023 The only thing certain is that the most important ritual following the death of a pope — a conclave to elect a new one — does not apply. Time, 28 Dec. 2022 Jennifer Lawrence had a unique post-premiere ritual with her Hunger Games costars, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 Nov. 2022 Archaeologists say the children and llamas were slaughtered all at once in a ritual sacrifice performed by the ancient Chimú civilization. Megan Schmidt, Discover Magazine, 7 Mar. 2019 Theorizing about that was certainly a lot more fun than watching the coverage of Kevin McCarthy’s ritual humiliation. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 11 Jan. 2023 On May 14, 2021, Khalid posted a photo of himself with a sarcastic caption criticizing a common Shia ritual. WIRED, 5 Jan. 2023 During her tenure, the court also ruled that mikvehs, or ritual baths, in Israel had to be made available for the use of non-Orthodox converts to Judaism. Sun Sentinel, 4 Jan. 2023 Remember, though—this whole thing is about honoring the mighty Ullr; be sure to toss a Christmas tree on the fest’s ritual bonfire to appease him so that your calendar may be stacked with endless powder days. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, 4 Jan. 2023
Noun
Tea deserves its own cup for the simple ritual and thousands-year practice that is making tea. Deanne Revel, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Jan. 2023 The roughly 75-minute work for 13 men brilliantly fuses a contemporary theatricality with street dance, capoeira, martial arts, and Sufi imagery to create a sense of communal ritual and power. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Jan. 2023 For its devotees, the Geezer party isn’t just a link to the past, but a sustaining communal ritual. Joseph Bernstein, New York Times, 12 Jan. 2023 Dry January, the month some people abstain from drinking as part of a New Year’s ritual, has grown in popularity since the term was first coined about a decade ago. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune, 1 Jan. 2023 More than 100 people raised voices unified in song and ritual at Temple Sinai, in Northwest Washington. Ellie Silverman, Washington Post, 31 Dec. 2022 Each treatment, ritual or therapy is based upon outcomes that target your individual needs, from rest, recovery and regeneration to detoxification, movement and health optimisation, as well as reinforcing the spiritual and physical connection. Nel-olivia Waga, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 But paying attention to the finer details can mean the difference between a post-shower ritual that feels blissfully luxurious and one that reminds you of your barebones college dorm bathrooms. Anamaria Glavan, Allure, 28 Dec. 2022 Go for the Grab Bag option, which is great for neighbors, or any group that doesn't have the time or inclination to go through an elaborate gift-giving ritual. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 3 Feb. 2023.

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

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