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ritual

Definition of Ritual

(noun) A practice or observance based on custom.

Examples of Ritual

  • burial ceremony
  • graduation ceremony
  • wedding ceremony

Ritual Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: rit·u·al

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈrɪtʃ(əw)əl/
  • British English – /ˈrɪtʃʊəl/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: rituals
  • A thanatologist studies rituals related to death, such as burial and remembrance.
  • Also called rite.
  • A ritual is performed (adverb) ritually.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Cite the Definition of Ritual

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “ritual.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 13, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/ritual/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

ritual. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/ritual/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “ritual.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 13, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/ritual/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“ritual.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/ritual/>.