Definition of routine in US English:



  • 1A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

    ‘I settled down into a routine of work and sleep’
    ‘as a matter of routine a report will be sent to the director’
    • ‘I grabbed my stuff, then we headed to his locker, a routine we followed everyday.’
    • ‘They followed the same routine with other aspects of the project.’
    • ‘In the evening after work Rebecca went about her normal routine of making supper for the children and then getting them ready for bed after television.’
    • ‘And he also didn't follow his usual bedtime routine after his prayers.’
    • ‘Organizations develop routines around the use of existing technologies, giving rise to a self-reinforcing cycle of stability.’
    • ‘So the weeks passed, and my regular routines kept going, Rob just became a part of them.’
    • ‘But you had only to count the days to know that we were not there yet, that our regular routine would continue for another ten days or so.’
    • ‘There's a routine that we follow in the prison, day in day out, getting up for the bell and going to bed again when it sounds for the last time.’
    • ‘Inside and outside the house the same routine was followed as in the previous year.’
    • ‘He developed a nightly routine of studying a few chapters by the light of the campfire.’
    • ‘Parasoft's own developers follow a strict routine and are required to turn in their code for testing every night by 7.’
    • ‘Each day, they followed a strict routine of work, ritual baths, and prayer.’
    • ‘You got your work done then, so that when the weekends came around, there would be no routines to follow or work to be done.’
    • ‘Anne went back to her regular routine and worked until it grew dark outside.’
    • ‘With insurers paying for even routine care, consumers lack incentives to shop for low-cost, high-value care.’
    • ‘Although many said the regular routine of their lives was perfectly amiable, all agreed that just occasionally there needed to be great rejoicing of some kind.’
    • ‘I followed the usual morning routine in a hazy daze; I showered, brushed my teeth, got dressed, etc.’
    • ‘Because they focus on adherence to routines, process management activities have the potential to affect an organization's technological innovations.’
    • ‘The manager must be a hands-on line manager who has gone through the firm's work routines and processes, and knows first-hand the product, market, business environment, and industry.’
    • ‘Almost as routine as brushing one's teeth, checking e-mail has worked its way into the daily routine of millions.’
    • ‘Everything had shaken into place and everyone on the tour, bands and crew alike, had fixed routines to follow, which saved them from having to think too hard.’
    procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regime, regimen, groove
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    1. 1.1 A set sequence in a performance such as a dance or comedy act.
      ‘he was trying to persuade her to have a tap routine in the play’
      • ‘She wound up her dance routine with a wobbly pirouette and took a little bow.’
      • ‘She executed a rhythm tap dancing routine in the 1928 musical Cross My Heart which stopped the show cold every night.’
      • ‘They bowed slightly, the way they did at competitions, after their routines.’
      • ‘Instead, it's best to ease back into your dance routine, increasing physical demands by five percent per week.’
      • ‘It's essentially a series of vaudeville comedy routines.’
      • ‘Kreviazuk's live shows are part concert, part comedy routine, part emotional rendering.’
      • ‘They're the Rockettes, world famous for their eye-high kicks and precise dance routines.’
      • ‘Many of the performances show amazing dance routines, and songs that fit well into the context of the film.’
      • ‘You don't expect someone like that to be involved in dance routines, onstage, but he does it and pulls it off, and he's just brilliant.’
      • ‘Middleton climaxed her routine by performing full splits.’
      • ‘For Dinah, the never-ending tap dance routines and smile-this-is-comedy faces are becoming old hat.’
      • ‘The wonderful jazzy numbers set the scene for some truly amazing tap routines.’
      • ‘He approaches Liliya and the two begin to dance their old routine.’
      • ‘Excerpts from their respective solo routines are incorporated, perhaps to keep the fans sweet.’
      • ‘Jackie believes that fight scenes are very similar to dance routines, because they stress the line of the human body.’
      • ‘His show Toujours L' Amour still sells out at the National Theatre in Bucharest after five years - Raluca had been to see it six times - and he is constantly developing new routines for new shows.’
      • ‘There is one unusual twist in the presentation though: Laurie performs with a DJ, who backs up her routines with minimalist dance music.’
      • ‘Yet it's fun to hear the boogie-woogie and swing music of the period, which inspires Astaire to some great double-time tap routines.’
      • ‘The emphasis of dance team is on learning and performing choreographed routines rather than on the underlying technique.’
      • ‘The group works a played-out routine, but it does so in highly entertaining fashion.’
      act, performance, number, turn, piece, line
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    2. 1.2Computing A sequence of instructions for performing a task that forms a program or a distinct part of one.
      • ‘I created these menus and routines for both programs so that users need only be familiar with that menu to be productive in either one with minimal training.’
      • ‘Any modifications to the database required external support and complete reprogramming of routines to ensure data integrity across the three tables.’
      • ‘A simple program calls the crypt routine, runs the hash on a word and then compares it to the password entry in the file.’
      • ‘I was famed for my ability to press all the right buttons in the install routine by simply following the instructions and not freezing up like a rabbit in the headlights.’
      • ‘MPI provides many communication routines to aid the programmer in developing inter-process communication.’


  • Performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.

    ‘the principal insisted that this was just a routine annual drill’
    • ‘The cost of treatment in respect of infertility is allowable but not routine maternity care resulting from a pregnancy.’
    • ‘Vets had spotted suspect lesions on the sheep while carrying out routine checks.’
    • ‘One of the many endearing peculiarities of academic life at Harvard is that even routine departmental meetings sometimes turn out to be catered.’
    • ‘In one case, workers reported that they'd performed some routine maintenance on the spinning machine that made the housing for fans.’
    • ‘Many people resent this follow-up, which is simply a routine business procedure for the agent.’
    • ‘The device was scuttling over the crates in the cargo bay, making a few routine diagnostic checks, when its sensors picked up some anomalous readings.’
    • ‘Even the routine stuff, connecting new pipelines, is unimaginably difficult.’
    • ‘In the absence of suitable partners, they perform routine tasks for one another as a kind of intimate courtesy.’
    • ‘The police should not have routine access to campus that could be used to monitor or interfere with political activity.’
    • ‘The management said it was a routine warning.’
    • ‘The Stock Exchange is carrying out a routine examination into unusual share price movements ahead of a company announcement.’
    • ‘A squadron of the Guard in the barracks courtyard was doing routine drills.’
    • ‘The best advice is to send your machine in for routine service rather than tolerate intermittent problems.’
    • ‘Savings multiply as you realise how many routine business processes can be moved out of the enterprise onto the end user through self-service functions.’
    • ‘He insists this was an innocent, routine reminder of company procedures.’
    • ‘Paulsen suggests rotating backup tapes to ensure minimal wear and tear, and to perform routine tests, such as reformatting and retensioning.’
    • ‘What should be a routine story in most national papers suddenly assumes gigantic proportions when the editor of a leading paper uses it to thrash the present government.’
    • ‘If you wouldn't mind stepping out of the car, we'll just perform a routine search and be on our way.’
    • ‘Mothers or other adult caretakers feed children, dress them, and perform routine physical care well into the young childhood years.’
    • ‘It has not only allowed for wage savings but also facilitated a greater amount of control, as well as helping perform routine activities such as backing up files.’
    standard, regular, customary, accustomed, normal, usual, ordinary, established, natural, unexceptional, typical
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[with object]rare
  • Organize according to a routine.

    ‘all had been routined with smoothness’


Late 17th century (denoting a regular course or procedure): from French, from route ‘road’ (see route).