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[ser-uh-moh-nee-uh s] /ˌsɛr əˈmoʊ ni əs/
carefully observant of ceremony; formally or elaborately polite:
He greeted his rival with a ceremonious display of friendship.
pertaining to, marked by, or consisting of ceremony; formal:
a ceremonious reception.
Origin of ceremonious
1545-55; ceremony + -ous; compare Middle French cerimonieux < Late Latin caerimōniōsus
Related forms
ceremoniously, adverb
ceremoniousness, noun
anticeremonious, adjective
anticeremoniously, adverb
anticeremoniousness, noun
nonceremonious, adjective
nonceremoniously, adverb
nonceremoniousness, noun
superceremonious, adjective
superceremoniously, adverb
superceremoniousness, noun
Can be confused
ceremonial, ceremonious.
1. ceremonial; conventional, punctilious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ceremonious
Historical Examples
  • You are cold and ceremonious; what, in colloquial language, we should call short.

    Albert Savarus Honore de Balzac
  • He was ushered into the ceremonious, barely-furnished, best room.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • Something he wanted in life had been refused him point-blank; in ceremonious terms, but with uncompromising plainness.

    Angelot Eleanor Price
  • Ole had been very modest and ceremonious with Lisbeth as he bade her good-by.

    Lisbeth Longfrock Hans Aanrud
  • Numberless and numbered droskies were darting through the streets, carrying gayly dressed officers making their ceremonious calls.

  • The queens, stately and ceremonious, were softened and could not restrain their laughter.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • ceremonious etiquette and detail duties were punctiliously observed.

    Mexico Susan Hale
  • The note was not a long one, nor was it encumbered by any ceremonious phraseology.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • The roasted leg or the saddle are the only forms of mutton permissible to serve at a ceremonious dinner.

    The Century Cook Book Mary Ronald
  • Finally, she bowed in a manner sufficiently distant and ceremonious.

    Aunt Rachel David Christie Murray
British Dictionary definitions for ceremonious


especially or excessively polite or formal
observing ceremony; involving formalities
Derived Forms
ceremoniously, adverb
ceremoniousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ceremonious

1550s, from Middle French cérémonieux or directly from Late Latin caerimoniosus, from Latin caerimonia (see ceremony). Meaning "full of show and ceremony" is from 1610s. Related: Ceremoniously; ceremoniousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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