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[roo-teen] /ruˈtin/
a customary or regular course of procedure.
commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity:
the routine of an office.
regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.
an unvarying and constantly repeated formula, as of speech or action; convenient or predictable response:
Don't give me that brotherly-love routine!
  1. a complete set of coded instructions directing a computer to perform a series of operations.
  2. a series of operations performed by the computer.
an individual act, performance, or part of a performance, as a song or dance, given regularly by an entertainer:
a comic routine; a dance routine.
of the nature of, proceeding by, or adhering to routine:
routine duties.
dull or uninteresting; commonplace.
Origin of routine
1670-80; < French, derivative of route route
Related forms
routinely, adverb
routineness, noun
nonroutine, adjective, noun
unroutine, adjective
unroutinely, adverb
Can be confused
regular, routine.
8. habitual, ordinary, typical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for routine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Something about the very air of the place made me feel that it was dangerous to attempt to trifle with the routine here.

    Twelve Men Theodore Dreiser
  • A memo was routine, but the contents of this one were remarkable.

    The Ambulance Made Two Trips William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • This, according to Grtzner, is the routine in which the life of monks revolves.

  • "But they have already been through the routine two or three times," suggested Paul.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • At first the resumption of routine after years of indolence was irksome and exhausting.

    The Man Who Was Good Leonard Merrick
British Dictionary definitions for routine


a usual or regular method of procedure, esp one that is unvarying
(computing) a program or part of a program performing a specific function: an input routine, an output routine
a set sequence of dance steps
(informal) a hackneyed or insincere speech
of, relating to, or characteristic of routine
Derived Forms
routinely, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Old French, from route a customary way, route
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 routine

1670s, from French routine "usual course of action, beaten path" (16c.), from route "way, path, course" (see route (n.)) + noun suffix -ine (see -ine (1)). Theatrical or athletic performance sense is from 1926. The adjective is attested from 1817, from the noun. Related: Routinely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for routine



  1. A passage of behavior; act; bit, riff, shtick: They did a Laurel and Hardy routine (1926+ Show business)
  2. An evasive or contrived response: I look for revelation and get routine (1950s+ Cool talk)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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routine in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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