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



ceremony (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.
  4. (uncountable) Show of magnificence, display, ostentation.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554, 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, A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, Volume II, Chapter 46, p. 254,[4]
      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.

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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of cerymonye