from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The prescribed order of a religious ceremony.
  • n. The body of ceremonies or rites used in a place of worship.
  • n. The prescribed form of conducting a formal secular ceremony: the ritual of an inauguration.
  • n. The body of ceremonies used by a fraternal organization.
  • n. A book of rites or ceremonial forms.
  • n. A ceremonial act or a series of such acts.
  • n. The performance of such acts.
  • n. A detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed: My household chores have become a morning ritual.
  • n. A state or condition characterized by the presence of established procedure or routine: "Prison was a ritual—reenacted daily, year in, year out. Prisoners came and went; generations came and went; and yet the ritual endured” ( William H. Hallahan).
  • adj. Associated with or performed according to a rite or ritual: a priest's ritual garments; a ritual sacrifice.
  • adj. Being part of an established routine: a ritual glass of milk before bed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Related to a rite or repeated set of actions.
  • n. rite; a repeated set of actions

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to rites or ritual
  • n. A prescribed form of performing divine service in a particular church or communion.
  • n. Hence, the code of ceremonies observed by an organization.
  • n. A book containing the rites to be observed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to, consisting of, or prescribing a rite or rites.
  • n. A book containing the rites or ordinances of a church or of any special service.
  • n. A prescribed manner of performing religious worship or other devotional service in any given ecclesiastical or other organization.
  • n. The external form prescribed for religious or other devotional services.
  • n. Any ceremonial form or custom of procedure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. stereotyped behavior
  • adj. of or relating to or characteristic of religious rituals
  • adj. of or relating to or employed in social rites or rituals
  • n. any customary observance or practice
  • n. the prescribed procedure for conducting religious ceremonies


From Latin rītuālis, of rites, from rītus, rite; see rite.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin adjective ritualis, from noun rituum, rite, + adjective suffix -alis. (Wiktionary)



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