a formal or ceremonial act or procedure prescribed or customary in religious or other solemn use: rites of baptism; sacrificial rites.
a particular form or system of religious or other ceremonial practice: the Roman rite.
(often initial capital letter) one of the historical versions of the Eucharistic service: the Anglican Rite.
(often initial capital letter) liturgy.
(sometimes initial capital letter) Eastern Church, Western Church. a division or differentiation of churches according to liturgy.
any customary observance or practice: the rite of afternoon tea.

1275–1325; Middle English (< Old French rit(e)) < Latin rītus

riteless, adjective
ritelessness, noun

right, rite, wright, write.

1. observance, form, usage. See ceremony.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rite (raɪt)
1.  a formal act or procedure prescribed or customary in religious ceremonies: fertility rites; the rite of baptism
2.  a particular body of such acts or procedures, esp of a particular Christian Church: the Latin rite
3.  a Christian Church: the Greek rite
[C14: from Latin rītus religious ceremony]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., from L. ritus "religious observance or ceremony, custom, usage," perhaps from PIE base *re(i)- "to count, number" (cf. Gk. arithmos "number," O.E. rim "number"). Rite of passage (1909) is translated from Fr. rite de passage, coined by French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep (18731957).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
And he also has some comments about a truly out-of-the-box idea about human
  burial rites.
We engage in systematic mourning and funeral rites to remove the deceased and
  his remains from our immediate awareness.
Topics include how reformers figured in contested rites of church dedication.
Their cultural rites reflect awareness of the necessary harmony between the
  human spirit, the land, and surrounding animal life.
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