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Meaning of ritual

rit•u•al

Pronunciation: (rich'-ul), [key]
— n.
  1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.
  2. a system or collection of religious or other rites.
  3. observance of set forms in public worship.
  4. a book of rites or ceremonies.
  5. a book containing the offices to be used by priests in administering the sacraments and for visitation of the sick, burial of the dead, etc.
  6. a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service: the ritual of the dead.
  7. prescribed, established, or ceremonial acts or features collectively, as in religious services.
  8. any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.
  9. a prescribed code of behavior regulating social conduct, as that exemplified by the raising of one's hat or the shaking of hands in greeting.
  10. a specific act, as hand-washing, performed repetitively to a pathological degree, occurring as a common symptom of obsessive-compulsive neurosis.
—adj.
  1. of the nature of or practiced as a rite or ritual: a ritual dance.
  2. of or pertaining to rites or ritual: ritual laws.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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