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, 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.

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

  2. ritual(Adjective)

    Related to a rite or repeated set of actions.

    They performed the ritual lighting of the candles.

    Etymology: 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

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

  2. Ritual(noun)

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

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

  3. Ritual(noun)

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

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

  4. Ritual(noun)

    a book containing the rites to be observed

    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.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

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

How to pronounce ritual?

  1. Alex
    US English

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. Hansa Bhargava:

    It's definitely genetic, prevention is really the cure in these situations. You want to make sure the child is not overtired, stressed out, over-scheduled. And have a nice calming ritual at bedtime so the child can actually calm himself down before going to sleep.

  2. Ethar El-Katatney:

    I was out for a couple of hours just kind of taking photos, recording. And just two hours standing in the sun makes you so dizzy and so incredibly faint, but regardless, people were still continuing to ... their ritual, where the stampede happened.

  3. Ben Moor:

    I kind of got this ritual of, you know, you hold the patient's hand just briefly, i think there's a value and need to recognize this moment, that this might be the last interaction this person has. This might be the last hand that squeezes theirs.

  4. Yonatan Adler:

    According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken, stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.

  5. Johnny Perkins:

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

Images & Illustrations of ritual

  1. ritualritualritualritualritual

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    the transparent covering of an aircraft cockpit
    • A. breastwork
    • B. canopy
    • C. flair
    • D. concoction

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