ceremony

[ser-uh-moh-nee]
noun, plural ceremonies.
1.
the formal activities conducted on some solemn or important public or state occasion: the coronation ceremony.
2.
a formal religious or sacred observance; a solemn rite: a marriage ceremony.
3.
formal observances or gestures collectively; ceremonial observances: The breathless messenger had no time for ceremony.
4.
any formal act or observance, especially a meaningless one: His low bow was mere ceremony.
5.
a gesture or act of politeness or civility: the ceremony of a handshake.
6.
strict adherence to conventional forms; formality: to leave a room without ceremony.
Idioms
7.
stand on ceremony, to behave in a formal or ceremonious manner.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English ceremonie < Medieval Latin cēremōnia, Latin caerimōnia sacred rite; replacing Middle English cerymonye < Middle French cerimonie < Latin, as above

preceremony, noun, plural preceremonies.


1, 2. Ceremony, rite, ritual refer to set observances and acts traditional in religious services or on public occasions. Ceremony applies to more or less formal dignified acts on religious or public occasions: a marriage ceremony; an inaugural ceremony. A rite is an established, prescribed, or customary form of religious or other solemn practice: the rite of baptism. Ritual refers to the form of conducting worship or to a code of ceremonies in general: Masonic rituals.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ceremony (ˈsɛrɪmənɪ)
 
n , pl -nies
1.  a formal act or ritual, often set by custom or tradition, performed in observation of an event or anniversary: a ceremony commemorating Shakespeare's birth
2.  a religious rite or series of rites
3.  a courteous gesture or act: the ceremony of toasting the Queen
4.  ceremonial observances or gestures collectively: the ceremony of a monarchy
5.  stand on ceremony to insist on or act with excessive formality
6.  without ceremony in a casual or informal manner
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin cēremōnia, from Latin caerimōnia what is sacred, a religious rite]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ceremony
late 14c., from M.L. ceremonia, from L. cærimonia "awe, reverent rite," an obscure word, possibly of Etruscan origin, or a reference to the ancient rites performed by the Etruscan pontiffs at Caere, near Rome. Introduced in English by Wyclif.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

ceremony

see stand on (ceremony).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
We often downplay the importance of ceremony and ritual in university life.
Millions crowded into the mall to watch the ceremony.
The plans for the opening ceremony also show what a good networker the place is.
Of all the high-ranking samurai's cultural pursuits, none infatuated them as
  much as the tea ceremony.
Idioms & Phrases
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