Definition of rite in US English:



  • 1A religious or other solemn ceremony or act.

    ‘the rite of communion’
    ‘fertility rites’
    • ‘The impromptu funeral rites she performs are her amateurish attempts to clear her conscience of this terrible burden.’
    • ‘The Church of England still does not sanction remarriage of divorcees - i.e. they cannot be remarried using the full religious rite, though their civil marriages can be blessed by the church, and they can be admitted to communion.’
    • ‘The recipient must be an American boy or girl celebrating a religious rite: a first communion, confirmation, bar or bat mitzvah.’
    • ‘As I have mentioned, the sacrificial rite of kirasudj is held one month after the burial by adherents of traditional religion.’
    • ‘The village was unable to help him, however, despite the number of religious rites they enacted.’
    • ‘The hotly contested question about cremation rites is not surprising, given their crucial status in the local religion.’
    • ‘The earth is sacred, and no ploughing or sowing or reaping can take place without some religious rite.’
    • ‘Funerary rites involve either a church service or a civil ceremony, depending on the beliefs of the deceased and his or her survivors.’
    • ‘The third deals with burial rites, mourning, and other kinds of ceremonies.’
    • ‘We pray to our own god and according to our own religious rites and traditions’ he explained.’
    • ‘Homage is paid to them in annual rites of fertility, harvest, and the like.’
    • ‘In the black communities of the 1920s, funeral rites were both extremely important and rarely provided for financially.’
    • ‘A second springtime fertility rite, in which unmarried women perform dances and songs, coincides with St. Lazar's Day, eight days before Easter.’
    • ‘Preceded by elaborate communal rites and rituals, its end is to restore harmony and reinforce the social fabric.’
    • ‘Even now he is surrounded by his ministers and clergymen prepared to administer final rites.’
    • ‘Feasting and sharing food are an important feature of traditional agricultural and religious rites.’
    • ‘It is thought they may have been killed as part of some religious rites but no one really knows and I wonder if, in the future, any finders of these human remains will be similarly appalled and mystified.’
    • ‘Major life transitions, such as birth, marriage, and death, are marked by religious ceremonies, often including both Voudou and Christian rites.’
    • ‘Some of the diary reads much like a tourist guidebook, describing wedding ceremonies and funeral rites, Afghan customs and consumer prices in Kabul.’
    • ‘He broke the white wafer into small pieces and placed one in his mouth, whispering the rites of Communion.’
    • ‘Article 17 insists that the dead be ‘honourably interred’ - if possible ‘according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged’.’
    • ‘Though suggestive of mystic, pagan rites of purification and primitivism, the film, like all true surrealism, outrageously defies attempts at pigeonholing analysis and close reading.’
    ceremony, ritual, ceremonial, observance, service, sacrament, liturgy, worship, office, celebration
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    1. 1.1 A body of customary observances characteristic of a Church or a part of it.
      ‘the Byzantine rite’
      • ‘Byzantine rites and customs, in particular the practice of a married clergy, presented a serious problem for the established American Catholic world dominated largely by the Irish.’
      ceremony, ritual, ceremonial, observance, service, sacrament, liturgy, worship, office, celebration
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    2. 1.2 A social custom, practice, or conventional act.
      ‘the family Christmas rite’
      • ‘From ancient times, the rites and rituals associated with bathing have assumed a special place in human culture and consciousness.’
      • ‘The rites and customs of the Old South no longer work.’
      • ‘Many performers say such personal rites help them prepare mentally.’
      • ‘Such rites are practised in joint consultative committees, grievance procedures, procedures for disputes resolution and the like.’
      • ‘Unlike deliberately constructed visions, the myths we live and work by often remain unseen, residing incognito in our daily rituals, rites, customs, and metaphors.’
      • ‘Students at the local school always pull a series of pranks during rag week, and Raymond makes plans with his officers to keep these rites in check.’
      ceremony, ritual, ceremonial, observance, service, sacrament, liturgy, worship, office, celebration
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  • rite of passage

    • A ceremony or event marking an important stage in someone's life, especially birth, puberty, marriage, and death.

      ‘a novel that depicts the state of adolescence and the rites of passage that lead to adulthood’
      • ‘There are no formal initiation ceremonies for the ‘national culture,’ although the twenty-first birthday often is celebrated as a rite of passage into adulthood.’
      • ‘Confirmation as a member of the church is an important rite of passage.’
      • ‘Baptism, first communion, and marriage are considered rites of passage for Andorrans, as they are for most Roman Catholics.’
      • ‘The purchase of the first car is an important rite of passage, as is reaching the age of eighteen when it becomes legal to drive, to vote, and to drink alcohol.’
      • ‘Marriage is another important rite of passage.’
      • ‘The most important rite of passage for a boy is circumcision’
      • ‘The major rite of passage in adulthood is marriage.’
      • ‘Hundreds of thousands of students have been educated in Britain, Australia, and the United States; the experience of leaving Malaysia for training abroad is an important rite of passage for many of the elite.’
      • ‘School graduation ceremonies are a primary rite of passage for most children and young adults.’
      • ‘Universal compulsory military service for a period of at least sixteen months has been mandatory for all eighteen-year-old males and marked an important rite of passage into adulthood.’
      initiation, debut, introduction, inauguration, launch, beginning, rite of passage
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Middle English: from Latin ritus ‘(religious) usage’.