What does ritual mean?

Definitions for ritual
ˈrɪtʃ u əlrit·u·al

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ritual.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ritual, ritenoun

    any customary observance or practice

  2. ritualnoun

    the prescribed procedure for conducting religious ceremonies

  3. ritualadjective

    stereotyped behavior

  4. ritualadjective

    of or relating to or characteristic of religious rituals

    "ritual killing"

  5. ritualadjective

    of or relating to or employed in social rites or rituals

    "a ritual dance of Haiti"; "sedate little colonial tribe with its ritual tea parties"- Nadine Gordimer


  1. ritualnoun

    rite; a repeated set of actions

    They carried out the ritual carefully.

  2. ritualadjective

    Related to a rite or repeated set of actions.

    They performed the ritual lighting of the candles.

  3. Etymology: From adjective ritualis, from noun rituum, rite, + adjective suffix -alis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Ritualadjective

    Solemnly ceremonious; done according to some religious institution.

    Etymology: rituel, Fr.

    Instant I bade the priests prepare
    The ritual sacrifice, and solemn pray’r. Matthew Prior.

    If to tradition were added, certain constant ritual and emblematical observances, as the emblems were expressive, the memory of the thing recorded would remain. Duncan Forbes.

  2. Ritualnoun

    A book in which the rites and observances of religion are set down.

    Etymology: from the adj.

    An heathen ritual could not instruct a man better than these several pieces of antiquity in the particular ceremonies, that attended different sacrifices. Joseph Addison, Remarks on Italy.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ritualadjective

    of or pertaining to rites or ritual; as, ritual service or sacrifices; the ritual law

  2. Ritualnoun

    a prescribed form of performing divine service in a particular church or communion; as, the Jewish ritual

  3. Ritualnoun

    hence, the code of ceremonies observed by an organization; as, the ritual of the freemasons

  4. Ritualnoun

    a book containing the rites to be observed

  5. Etymology: [L. ritualis, fr. ritus a rite: cf. F. rituel.]


  1. Ritual

    A ritual "is a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence preternatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors' goals and interests." Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism and performance. Rituals of various kinds are a feature of almost all known human societies, past or present. They include not only the various worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also the rites of passage of certain societies, atonement and purification rites, oaths of allegiance, dedication ceremonies, coronations and presidential inaugurations, marriages and funerals, school "rush" traditions and graduations, club meetings, sports events, Halloween parties, veterans parades, Christmas shopping and more. Many activities that are ostensibly performed for concrete purposes, such as jury trials, execution of criminals, and scientific symposia, are loaded with purely symbolic actions prescribed by regulations or tradition, and thus partly ritualistic in nature. Even common actions like hand-shaking and saying hello may be termed rituals.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ritual

    rit′ū-al, adj. consisting of or prescribing rites.—n. manner of performing divine service, or a book containing it: the body of rites employed in the church: the code of ceremonies observed by an organisation, as the ritual of the Freemasons.—ns. Rit′ūalism, systems of rituals or prescribed forms of religion: the observance of them: the name popularly given to the great increase of ceremonial and symbolism by means of special vestments, &c., in the Church of England since about 1860-65: Rit′ūalist, one skilled in or devoted to a ritual: one of the party devoted to ritualism in the Church of England.—adj. Ritūalist′ic, pertaining to the ritual.—adv. Rit′ūally. [L. ritualis; cf. Rite.]

Suggested Resources

  1. ritual

    Song lyrics by ritual -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by ritual on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ritual' in Nouns Frequency: #2374

How to pronounce ritual?

How to say ritual in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ritual in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ritual in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of ritual in a Sentence

  1. Frank Herbert, Dune:

    Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaces by vague ritual.

  2. Jeff Rose:

    Most of the multi-millionaires I know have a dedicated routine, a ritual, that they do each and every morning.

  3. Shambhu Thapa:

    If the existing laws are implemented there would be no ritual sacrifices.

  4. Yogendra Dulal:

    It is a ritual connected with people’s faith, we can’t hurt their sentiments and ban the practice.

  5. Micah Elliott:

    This has pretty much become an annual ritual for us.

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Translations for ritual

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    brought into agreement or cooperation on the side of a faction, party, or cause
    • A. handsome
    • B. brilliant
    • C. nasty
    • D. aligned

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