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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ceremonious
Historical Examples
  • The note was not a long one, nor was it encumbered by any ceremonious phraseology.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • Finally, she bowed in a manner sufficiently distant and ceremonious.

    Aunt Rachel David Christie Murray
  • Hat and gloves are invariably worn with this gown if the affair is ceremonious.

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • His phrases are ceremonious without the dignity of ceremony.

    The Children Alice Meynell
  • Dinner at the moat-house was a solemn and ceremonious function.

    The Hand in the Dark Arthur J. Rees
  • Major Stone bowed with the ceremonious detail that was a part of him.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • He was ushered into the ceremonious, barely-furnished, best room.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • They are not fine or ceremonious, but lively, odd, and pleasant.

    An Old-fashioned Girl Louisa May Alcott
  • Ole had been very modest and ceremonious with Lisbeth as he bade her good-by.

    Lisbeth Longfrock Hans Aanrud
  • The queens, stately and ceremonious, were softened and could not restrain their laughter.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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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