Definition of ritual noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈrɪtʃuəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈrɪtʃuəl//
    [countable, uncountable] Religious ceremonies
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  1. 1a series of actions that are always performed in the same way, especially as part of a religious ceremony religious rituals She objects to the ritual of organized religion. CollocationsReligionBeing religious believe in God/​Christ/​Allah/​free will/​predestination/​heaven and hell/​an afterlife/​reincarnation be/​become a believer/​an atheist/​an agnostic/​a Christian/​Muslim/​Hindu/​Buddhist, etc. convert to/​practise/ (especially US English) practice a religion/​Buddhism/​Catholicism/​Christianity/​Islam/​Judaism, etc. go to church/(North American English) temple (= the synagogue) go to the local church/​mosque/​synagogue/​gurdwara belong to a church/​a religious community join/​enter the church/​a convent/​a monastery/​a religious sect/​the clergy/​the priesthood praise/​worship/​obey/​serve/​glorify GodCelebrations and ritual attend/​hold/​conduct/​lead a service perform a ceremony/​a rite/​a ritual/​a baptism/​the Hajj/​a mitzvah carry out/​perform a sacred/​burial/​funeral/​fertility/​purification rite go on/​make a pilgrimage celebrate Christmas/​Easter/​Eid/​Ramadan/​Hanukkah/​Passover/​Diwali observe/​break the Sabbath/​a fast/​Ramadan deliver/​preach/​hear a sermon lead/​address the congregation say/​recite a prayer/​blessingReligious texts and ideas preach/​proclaim/​spread the word of God/​the Gospel/​the message of Islam study/​follow the dharma/​the teachings of Buddha read/​study/​understand/​interpret scripture/​the Bible/​the Koran/​the gospel/​the Torah be based on/​derive from divine revelation commit/​consider something heresy/​sacrilegeReligious belief and experience seek/​find/​gain enlightenment/​wisdom strengthen/​lose your faith keep/​practise/​practice/​abandon the faith save/​purify/​lose your soul obey/​follow/​keep/​break/​violate a commandment/​Islamic law/​Jewish law be/​accept/​do God’s will receive/​experience divine grace achieve/​attain enlightenment/​salvation/​nirvana undergo a conversion/​rebirth/​reincarnation hear/​answer a prayer commit/​confess/​forgive a sin do/​perform penance See related entries: Religious ceremonies
  2. 2something that is done regularly and always in the same way Sunday lunch with the in-laws has become something of a ritual.
  3. Word Originlate 16th cent. (as an adjective): from Latin ritualis, from ritus ‘(religious) usage’.Extra examples A cognac before bed is one of our little nightly rituals. Bargaining at the markets is now just an empty ritual. Boys undergo a circumcision ritual to usher them into adulthood. Eating around the table was a family ritual that could not be broken. He makes an elaborate ritual of washing the car. Her visits to her aged father have become a ritual. It takes several days to complete the ritual. Jake began the evening ritual of asking about everyone’s day. She had to go through the ritual of kissing the toys before her son would go to sleep. Their funerals follow the rituals of the Catholic church. They practise/​practice certain rituals in connection with rites of passage. Women’s roles in the rituals of many religions have been limited. rituals performed by druids at Stonehenge on Midsummer’s Day secret rituals in the sacred forest the accusation that they practised ritual murder the ritual practices of ancient religions Don’t let celebration of this festival become an empty ritual. He took to the sauna ritual with great enthusiasm. In an elaborate and impressive ritual, Aaron and his sons are instituted to the priesthood. It was all part of the ritual of returning home. Many folk dances have their origins in ancient pagan rituals. She had been following this daily ritual for several months. The bargaining isn’t even a formality, it is just an empty ritual. There had always been this little ritual—chocolates after lunch on Sundays.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ritual

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