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 formscer·e·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbcer·e·mo·ni·ous·ness, nounan·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·ous, adjectivean·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverban·ti·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ness, nounnon·cer·e·mo·ni·ous, adjectivenon·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbnon·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ness, nounsu·per·cer·e·mo·ni·ous, adjectivesu·per·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·cer·e·mo·ni·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedceremonial ceremonious

Synonyms for ceremonious

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

Examples from the Web for ceremonious

Historical Examples of ceremonious

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for ceremonious



especially or excessively polite or formal
observing ceremony; involving formalities
Derived Formsceremoniously, adverbceremoniousness, 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

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