rit·​u·​al·​is·​tic | \ ˌri-chə-wə-ˈli-stik How to pronounce ritualistic (audio) , -chə-ˈli-; ˌrich-wə- \

Definition of ritualistic

1 : of, in accordance with, or characterized by the use of ritual: such as
a : relating to or done as a ceremony or rite a ritualistic dance For Rick, the clincher came in 2001, when he discovered 20 identical trumpets, made from a type of conch shell … . The trumpets were highly decorated, indicating a ritualistic use.— Michael Brooks Ritualistic language (such as the oyez, oyez, oyez or hear ye, hear ye, hear ye that opens a court session) separates legal proceedings from ordinary life, marking them as being special and important.— Peter Tiersma
b : done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol Bush made the ritualistic visits to polling places, making a last-minute bid for support in this intense and important contest.— Jeanne Meserve
c : of, relating to, or being an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner The repetitive nature of online tasks—checking e-mail, searching for data, sending replies—has a soothing, ritualistic quality … .— Maia Szalavitz
2 : stressing the use of ritual forms : adhering to or devoted to ritualism We can look at Stonehenge not only to envision the ancient, ritualistic people who built it, but also to imagine a version of ourselves closer to nature … according to Wisser.— Jed Oelbaum

Other Words from ritualistic

ritualistically \ ˌri-​chə-​wə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ritualistically (audio) , -​chə-​ˈli-​ ; ˌrich-​wə-​ \ adverb

First Known Use of ritualistic

1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of ritualistic was in 1844

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Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ritualistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritualistic. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce ritualistic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ritualistic

formal : relating to or done as part of a rite or ritual

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