Definition of ceremonial in English:



  • 1Relating to or used for formal religious or public events.

    ‘a ceremonial occasion’
    • ‘A team of archaeologists from Sheffield University have revealed significant new insights into the role of Stonehenge after discovering a prehistoric ceremonial road.’
    • ‘By the seventeenth century, this indigenous elite did not always dress like Spaniards, certainly not on public ceremonial occasions.’
    • ‘The grand entrance is still used by councillors on ceremonial occasions.’
    • ‘Another traditional instrument still used in ritual and ceremonial events is the bullroarer, a thin piece of wood suspended from a string and swung in a circle.’
    • ‘Therefore, a distinction between formal palace-centered ceremonial processions and feasting must be preserved.’
    • ‘Yet there is a great difference both in method and in results between the traditional approaches to ceremonial represented in the study of ancient Greece and those being developed in more recent fields.’
    • ‘He is the connective tissue between government and tribal authority, and the government has given him a ceremonial uniform appropriate to his status.’
    • ‘In the section devoted to each stage, one can view videotapes of relevant religious rituals and ceremonial objects from diverse traditions.’
    • ‘Animal sacrifice accompanies almost every ritual and ceremonial event in Nepali life.’
    • ‘An elaborate calendrical system was evolved, not least to identify appropriate days for holding ritual and ceremonial events.’
    • ‘Why do modern armies and soldiers carry swords on ceremonial occasions?’
    • ‘When we worship in the spirit, we are opposed to religious rituals and ceremonial posturing, and to the showiness of the symbols of office, and external worship.’
    • ‘Uncomfortable (another unusual sensation), I adjust my position on the ceremonial throne.’
    • ‘The Washinton Post reports that with a letter from Bush and a ceremonial opening of the US Liaison Office in Tripoli, the US has opened its arms to the former pariah.’
    • ‘The announcement came during a day of ceremonial tribute to Mr Giuliani for his role in coordinating the immediate response and rallying New York's morale in the aftermath of the disaster.’
    • ‘Women exerted political influence by participating in community council meetings, and they had significant roles in Cherokee ceremonial life.’
    • ‘Some holidays and ceremonial occasions are associated with certain kinds of food.’
    • ‘The most visible signs are not houses or fields, but ceremonial monuments: a double row of timber posts, a ditched and banked enclosure in horseshoe plan and a ring ditch.’
    • ‘Women play important roles in ceremonial and political life in many Melanesian societies.’
    • ‘These are ceremonial occasions, and each person who helps the family is given a portion of the pig.’
    formal, official, state, public
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  • 2(of a post or role) conferring or involving only nominal authority or power.

    ‘the largely ceremonial position of Lord Lieutenant of Kent’
    • ‘Yet post Deane, he also wanted the role downgraded to a merely ceremonial one.’
    • ‘The unicity is run by Johannesburg's first-ever executive mayor - previously the mayor was a largely ceremonial position.’
    • ‘And, just as with you and your royalty, our ceremonial positions screen from the uninitiated gaze the empty throne.’
    • ‘The Viceroyalty evolved into a largely ceremonial position.’
    • ‘The powers of the president largely a ceremonial post will be shared by the prime minister and the speaker of the lower chamber of parliament until a successor can be found.’
    • ‘Your analogy with the Queen is bizarre - her role is purely ceremonial.’
    • ‘In today's world, all that's really left of the Queen's power is ceremonial and symbolic in nature.’
    • ‘By the end of his first day, AVM Shepherd was impressed with what he saw and those he spoke to, and was more than happy to take on a ceremonial role and officially open the bar for the enjoyment of his people.’
    • ‘He was a largely ceremonial figure with little power.’
    • ‘This is, of course, a discretion a Bulgarian President is able to exercise, given that constitutionally the office is not purely limited to a ceremonial role.’
    • ‘But the result of reducing the Queen's representative to a purely ceremonial role has been to concentrate power in the Prime Minister's office.’
    • ‘For five years, until August 2000 when the pair had a falling-out, she served as prime minister, a largely ceremonial post, under Kumaratunga.’
    • ‘His ultimate ambition is to become the president of India, a ceremonial post more to his liking than the rough and tumble at the helm of a state stricken by Pakistani terrorism.’
    • ‘Although a largely ceremonial position, some abuse victims saw it as a slap in the face.’
    • ‘But he is a traditionalist and is said to have opposed the constitutional changes which reduced the role of the monarch to that of a ceremonial head of state.’
    • ‘Whilst there was merit in the idea, John Blunt worried that the Lord Mayor would become simply a figurehead, reducing the position to a purely ceremonial role.’
    • ‘Mr Mallon was attending the council's annual meeting where another former police officer, Peter Porley, was elected to the ceremonial post of chairman.’
    • ‘Under exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the prime minister's position was largely ceremonial.’
    • ‘While it's highly visible, the new position is largely ceremonial.’
    • ‘Even though the Queen is the titular head of the government, her role is more ceremonial than substantive.’
    in name only, in title only, titular, formal, official
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mass noun
  • 1The system of rules and procedures to be observed at a formal or religious occasion.

    ‘the procedure was conducted with all due ceremonial’
    • ‘After a sumptuous feast in the morning, men and children go to the riverside and with due ceremonial worship offer a cocoasut to the God of water, Varuna.’
    • ‘With due ceremonial the last stone of the Ninetieth course was landed on the Rock by the Hedderwick praam-boat on the 30th.’
    • ‘Though we know little about early Christian worship, it is safe to assume that these common Eucharistic meals were celebrated with little ceremonial.’
    custom, usage, practice, tradition, way, habit, norm
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    1. 1.1count noun A rite or ceremony.
      ‘the Great Court was built to accommodate the grandest of ceremonials’
      • ‘With her, he sealed himself away in palatial residences, letting the people see him mainly through stagey televised ceremonials.’
      • ‘Forgive me master, but it's time for your little ceremonial.’
      • ‘In addition to these bilingual materials, traders developed vocabularies, missionaries prepared translations of the Bible and prayers, and anthropologists recorded traditional Navajo ceremonials and songs.’
      • ‘To begin with, the ceremonials were almost festive in style and akin to the traditional yearly State Opening of Parliament - with bands playing confident, up-beat airs.’
      • ‘The actual counting process was hugely important because its ritual and its ceremonials were crafted out of the defining nature of what was being undertaken, the transference of power from people to politician.’
      • ‘The language associated with the traditional storytelling and ceremonials of the tribe is less accessible to students who have not had instruction from their grandparents.’
      • ‘TG4 cameras were allowed to film rarely witnessed rituals and a unique peace ceremonial for the 30-minute documentary.’
      • ‘The ceremonials were completed with a fly-past by a WWII Bristol Blenheim bomber, a Spitfire and a Mustang, the latter two representing the RAF and Royal Canadian Air Force fighters which flew over the island on the day of its liberation.’
      • ‘For an unfathomable reason, I kept thinking of Balanchine's Agon as the dancers swept through their athletic ceremonial.’
      • ‘Edelheit questions the integrity and authenticity not only of Jewish participation in mixed ceremonials but, especially, of Christian misunderstanding of basic Christian sacramentalism.’
      • ‘The man widely dubbed the New Blair faced the original Blair yesterday at Westminster's weekly feast and ceremonial.’
      • ‘The agony experienced by their loved ones in trying to locate their remains lends, in Neil Hanson's prose, the dark ceremonial of Remembrance Sunday an almost unbearable poignancy.’
      • ‘This cheese, served as a nibble, was stale, dry and tough enough to make one wonder if it was left over from some opening night ceremonial.’
      • ‘Perhaps the virginity of the Grail hero, so stressed by late Christian redactors, may be a reminiscence of the virgin state of the initiate in the pagan ceremonial.’
      • ‘Boortsag or borts'k, the small cakes made of flour, water and yeast and fried in oil, are still made, but primarily for use at various ceremonials and rites.’
      • ‘Ritual clowns are also a part of some ceremonials.’
      • ‘And it is hard to see why the Royal Company of Archers seem quite so determined to keep the media - and particularly the television cameras - away from their ceremonials.’
      • ‘While communities have not necessarily remained distinctive, neither have their cultural institutions and ceremonials always been erased by the impact of modernity, the planet-wide homogeneity of globalisation.’
      • ‘Over the decades, as the local Galata community dwindled, Neve Shalom became a locus for ceremonials - during Rosh Hashanah and at bar mitzvahs, weddings, funerals and the like.’
      • ‘The Sun Dance, also known as the Offerings Lodge ceremonial, is one of the seven sacred ceremonials of the Sioux and is a ceremonial for which they have come to be widely known.’
      ritual, ceremony, rite, formality, pomp, solemnity
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Late Middle English: from late Latin caerimonialis, from Latin caerimonia ‘religious worship’ (see ceremony).