A rite is a ceremony or event that leads to a new phase of life, like high school graduation or a bat mitzvah.

Rites are rituals. Religions in particular have many rites, which include celebrations and sacraments such as baptism or confession. But people also use this word for any kind of event that signifies moving through a stage of life. For a football player, getting your first touchdown is a "rite of passage." Even a job interview could be considered a rite — it's a traditional ritual, something everyone has to go through before landing a first job.

Definitions of rite

n any customary observance or practice

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betrothal, espousal
the act of becoming betrothed or engaged
marriage, marriage ceremony, wedding
the act of marrying; the nuptial ceremony
rite of passage
a ritual performed in some cultures at times when an individual changes status (as from adolescence to adulthood)
bridal, espousal
archaic terms for a wedding or wedding feast
civil marriage
a marriage performed by a government official rather than by a clergyman
love match
a marriage for love's sake; not an arranged marriage
the act of marrying again
Type of:
custom, usage, usance
accepted or habitual practice

n an established ceremony prescribed by a religion

“the rite of baptism”
religious rite
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vigil, watch
the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)
last rites
rites performed in connection with a death or burial
secret rite in the cults of ancient Greek or Roman deities involving singing and dancing and drinking and sexual activity
the act of circumcising performed on males eight days after birth as a Jewish and Muslim religious rite
a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship
a religious rite or service prescribed by ecclesiastical authorities
viewing, wake
a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial
a vigil before certain feasts (as e.g. Easter)
Berit, Berith, Bris, Briss, Brith
the Jewish rite of circumcision performed on a male child on the eighth day of his life
Christian liturgy
the Christian worship services
Divine Office
canonical prayers recited daily by priests (e.g. the breviary of the Roman Catholic Church)
Little Office
a Roman Catholic office honoring the Virgin Mary; similar to but shorter than the Divine Office
Office of the Dead
an office read or sung before a burial mass in the Roman Catholic Church
Type of:
religious ceremony, religious ritual
a ceremony having religious meaning