From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English cerymonye, from Latin caerimonia or caeremonia, later often cerimonia (sacredness, reverence, a sacred rite).



ceremony (countable and uncountable, plural ceremonies)

  1. A ritual, with religious or cultural significance.
  2. An official gathering to celebrate, commemorate, or otherwise mark some event.
  3. (uncountable) A formal socially established behaviour, often in relation to people of different ranks; formality.
    • c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iv]:
      [] to feed were best at home;
      From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
      Meeting were bare without it.
    • 1928, W. Somerset Maugham, “Miss King”, in Ashenden[1], New York: Avon, published 1943, page 37:
      Monsieur Bridet, notwithstanding his costume and his evident harrassment [sic], found in himself the presence of mind to remain the attentive manager, and with ceremony effected the proper introduction.
    • 1959, C. S. Forester, Hunting the Bismarck[2], London: Michael Joseph:
      They went into the bars and interrupted the drinking, hustling the men out without ceremony.
  4. (uncountable) Show of magnificence, display, ostentation.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 752-756:
      Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command
      Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony
      And trumpet’s sound, throughout the host proclaim
      A solemn council forthwith to be held
      At Pandemonium []
    • 1829, Washington Irving, chapter 46, in A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada[3], volume II, Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, page 254:
      Immediately after her arrival, the queen rode forth to survey the camp and its environs: wherever she went, she was attended by a splendid retinue; and all the commanders vied with each other, in the pomp and ceremony with which they received her.
  5. (obsolete) An accessory or object associated with a ritual.
  6. (obsolete) An omen or portent.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of cerymonye