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[rahyt] /raɪt/
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
Related forms
riteless, adjective
ritelessness, noun
Can be confused
right, rite, wright, write.
1. observance, form, usage. See ceremony. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rites
  • 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.
  • Experts on human behavior and cultural norms provide a global perspective on these extreme rites of initiation and tests of faith.
  • Wrestling also has connections with fertility rites, ancestral worship, and animistic beliefs.
  • Studying artifacts in their specific context helps us understand culture and customs, such as burial rites.
  • They yearn for the comfort of ancient rites and criticize the sultan for neglecting ceremonies his father routinely attended.
  • Many of these carvings depict rituals, religious rites and spiritual beliefs.
  • One way to mitigate this threat is to introduce occasional rites which are exciting and memorable, but in a positive way.
British Dictionary definitions for rites


a formal act or procedure prescribed or customary in religious ceremonies: fertility rites, the rite of baptism
a particular body of such acts or procedures, esp of a particular Christian Church: the Latin rite
a Christian Church: the Greek rite
Word Origin
C14: from Latin rītus religious ceremony
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rites



early 14c., from Latin ritus "religious observance or ceremony, custom, usage," perhaps from PIE root *re(i)- "to count, number" (cf. Greek arithmos "number," Old English rim "number;" see read (v.)). Rite of passage (1909) is translated from French rite de passage, coined by French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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