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From Middle French cérémonieux, from Late Latin caerimoniosus, from Latin caerimonia.


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ceremonious (comparative more ceremonious, superlative most ceremonious)

  1. Fond of ceremony, ritual or strict etiquette; punctilious
    • 1609, Thomas Dekker, “Lanthorne and Candle-light. Or, The Bell-man’s Second Nights-walke. [] The Second Edition, []: To the Verry Worthy Gentleman Maister Francis Mustian of Peckam”, in Alexander B[alloch] Grosart, editor, The Non-dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker. [] (The Huth Library), volume III, London; Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: [] [Hazell, Watson, & Viney] for private circulation only, published 1885, →OCLC, page 177:
      [S]ome Writers do almoſt nothing contrary to yͤ cuſtome, and ſome by vertue of that Priviledge, dare doe any thing. I am neither of that firſt order, nor of this laſt. The one is too fondly-ceremonious, the other too impudently audacious.
    • 1958, C. S. Lewis, chapter III, in Reflections on the Psalms, Harcourt Brace & Co., published 1986, page 23:
      Ancient and oriental cultures are in many ways more conventional, more ceremonious, and more courteous than our own.
  2. Characterized by ceremony or rigid formality
    • c. 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Winters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, (please specify the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals)]:
      O, the sacrifice! / How ceremonious, solemn and unearthly / It was i' the offering!
    • 1888–1891, Herman Melville, “[Billy Budd, Foretopman.] Chapter XVII.”, in Billy Budd and Other Stories, London: John Lehmann, published 1951, →OCLC:
      Captain Vere advanced to meet him, [] and interrupting the other's wonted ceremonious salutation, said, "Nay, tell me how it is with yonder man," []

Derived terms[edit]