of, relating to, or characterized by ceremony; formal; ritual: a ceremonial occasion.
used in or in connection with ceremonies: ceremonial robes.


a system of ceremonies, rites, or formalities prescribed for or observed on any particular occasion; a rite.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. the order for rites and ceremonies.
  2. a book containing it.
formal behavior found at, or appropriate to, a certain occasion: the ceremonial of a state banquet.

Origin of ceremonial

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin cēremōniālis, Late Latin caerimōniālis. See ceremony, -al1
Related formscer·e·mo·ni·al·ism, nouncer·e·mo·ni·al·ist, nouncer·e·mo·ni·al·ly, adverban·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·al, adjectivean·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·al·ly, adverban·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·al·ism, nounan·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·al·ist, noun, adjectivenon·cer·e·mo·ni·al, adjectivenon·cer·e·mo·ni·al·ly, adverbpre·cer·e·mo·ni·al, adjectiveun·cer·e·mo·ni·al, adjectiveun·cer·e·mo·ni·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedceremonial ceremonious

Synonyms for ceremonial

Antonyms for ceremonial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ceremonial

Contemporary Examples of ceremonial

Historical Examples of ceremonial

  • He liked the Easter ceremonial better, perhaps, than that of Christmas.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • He returned from his audience with the emperor in ceremonial robes, high on horseback.

  • To this the soothsayer adds the ceremonial element, 'attending upon the gods.'

  • Each bow—and he bowed often—was an act of ceremonial courtesy.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

  • Pomp and ceremonial, popes and kings, are toys for children.

British Dictionary definitions for ceremonial



involving or relating to ceremony or ritual


the observance of formality, esp in etiquette
a plan for formal observances on a particular occasion; ritual
  1. the prescribed order of rites and ceremonies
  2. a book containing this
Derived Formsceremonialism, nounceremonialist, nounceremonially, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for ceremonial

c.1400, "belonging to (religious) ritual," also as a noun, "a ceremonial practice," from Late Latin caerimonialis "pertaining to ceremony," from caerimonia (see ceremony). Related: Ceremonially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper