Definition of liturgy in English:



  • 1A form or formulary according to which public religious worship, especially Christian worship, is conducted.

    ‘the Church of England liturgy’
    [mass noun] ‘a tradition which found its expression in ritual and liturgy’
    • ‘In reality, there has always been growth and development in Orthodox liturgy.’
    • ‘John takes this opportunity to provide his reader with something equally important to Eucharistic liturgy.’
    • ‘I have tried in this essay to discern what makes for change and continuity in Christian liturgy today.’
    • ‘A native religion, a combination of African rituals and Christian liturgy, has formed on Saint Vincent.’
    • ‘From then on, Coptic was used only in Christian liturgy.’
    ritual, worship, service, ceremony, rite, observance, celebration, ordinance, office, sacrament, solemnity, ceremonial
    formulation, form, custom, practice, tradition, rubric
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A religious service conducted according to a liturgy.
      ‘at the conclusion of the liturgy the Bishop presented the certificates’
      • ‘Kindly inform any person residing outside the parish who might wish to attend this special liturgy.’
      • ‘The Catholic Mass, Protestant services, and Jewish liturgies adhere to formats that are always followed.’
      • ‘They are all integral parts of church interiors and of the Orthodox liturgy and private devotion.’
      • ‘When sacramental participation had ceased to be the norm, people needed a reason for attending the liturgy.’
      • ‘Some Seekers create innovative liturgies that will involve children in their Sunday service.’
      • ‘A year earlier, Communion had been denied to two women present at a conciliar liturgy, which attracted much attention in the press.’
      • ‘The first children's liturgy will take place in the vigil mass of November 15.’
      • ‘We were driven to a village three hours away from our centre where we were presented as guests at a Sunday liturgy, an incredibly lively and moving event.’
      • ‘Unlike the standard Catholic liturgy, no two services have been alike.’
      • ‘So the liturgy of the word was replaced by Stations of the Cross!’
      • ‘Finally, it climaxes in the the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (the liturgy of the Eucharist).’
      • ‘Driven by hysterical choirs and crashing percussion, the Latin liturgy is indeed rather scary.’
      • ‘The final chapter summarizes and integrates the previous chapters with a study of Genesis that examines themes and suggests a brief liturgy as a conclusion to the study.’
      • ‘Soloists, organists and all musicians are reminded that their primary role is one of service to the liturgy.’
      • ‘The Pope said Catholic priests were forbidden to celebrate Eucharistic liturgies with Protestant ministers.’
      • ‘As we know, they had maintained the practice of ordaining women deacons during the Eucharistic liturgy.’
      • ‘The Vigil of Easter liturgy held yearly on Holy Saturday in my former campus congregation always is a special occasion.’
      • ‘After all, is that not the intention of the liturgy of the word?’
      • ‘Sunday liturgies will include prayers and reflections on the theme of poverty.’
      • ‘The original hearers of the work were, after all, the congregation present at a solemn liturgy, not the audience at a concert.’
      ceremony, ritual, rite, observance, ordinance
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2The service of the Eucharist in the Orthodox Church.
      • ‘Why not join in as a helper at the " Sunday Liturgy".’
      • ‘The Catholic Mass is composed of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but when Catholics speak of ‘going to Mass’ it is chiefly the second they have in mind.’
      • ‘Even now, in our celebration of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word comes before the Liturgy of the Eucharist.’
      • ‘I cooked alone, ate alone, and walked alone four times a day up the steep hill to the monastery to participate in the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours.’
      • ‘By contrast, in the Orthodox Liturgy, there is an air of reverence, as well as an atmosphere of informality.’
    3. 1.3archaic The Book of Common Prayer.
  • 2(in ancient Greece) a public office or duty performed voluntarily by a rich Athenian.

    • ‘Replacement funds were presumably provided by the Athenian élite through liturgies, impositions of property and ‘semi-voluntary’ subscriptions.’


Mid 16th century: via French or late Latin from Greek leitourgia public service, worship of the gods, from leitourgos minister, from lēitos public + -ergos working.