What does ritual mean?

Definitions for ritualˈrɪtʃ u əl

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ritual, rite(noun)

    any customary observance or practice

  2. ritual(noun)

    the prescribed procedure for conducting religious ceremonies

  3. ritual(adj)

    stereotyped behavior

  4. ritual(adj)

    of or relating to or characteristic of religious rituals

    "ritual killing"

  5. ritual(adj)

    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. ritual(Noun)

    rite; a repeated set of actions

    They carried out the ritual carefully.

  2. ritual(Adjective)

    Related to a rite or repeated set of actions.

    They performed the ritual lighting of the candles.

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

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ritual(adj)

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

  2. Ritual(noun)

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

  3. Ritual(noun)

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

  4. Ritual(noun)

    a book containing the rites to be observed

  5. Origin: [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.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

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


  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

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Shambhu Thapa:

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

  2. Christina Baldwin:

    Ritual is the way you carry the presence of the sacred. Ritual is the spark that must not go out.

  3. Yogendra Dulal:

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

  4. Johnny Perkins:

    They were part of afternoon tea, which had become a fashionable ritual, and that took root at Wimbledon.

  5. Jeff Rose:

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

Images & Illustrations of ritual

  1. ritualritualritual

Translations for ritual

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for ritual »


Find a translation for the ritual definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these ritual definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"ritual." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ritual>.

Are we missing a good definition for ritual? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for ritual:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.