A ceremony is a formal event held on special occasions such as weddings and graduations. Even if an occasion isn’t traditionally honored with a ceremony, you can hold one anyway; we know your cat’s third birthday is important.

Ceremony can also refer to proper, formal behavior; someone who insists on behaving properly can be said to “stand on ceremony.” If you insist on standing up and shaking hands every time you’re introduced to someone, you're a person who stands on ceremony. If you prefer to sit back and offer a casual “Hey,” you're a person who acts “without ceremony.”

Definitions of ceremony

n a formal event performed on a special occasion

“a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor”
ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, observance
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formal ceremony about important occasions
a ceremony at which a dead person is buried or cremated
hymeneals, nuptials, wedding, wedding ceremony
the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed
pageant, pageantry
a rich and spectacular ceremony
a ceremony in which something (as a building) is dedicated to some goal or purpose
a ceremony accompanying the start of some enterprise
commemoration, memorialisation, memorialization
a ceremony to honor the memory of someone or something
military ceremony
a formal ceremony performed by military personnel
induction, initiation, installation
a formal entry into an organization or position or office
(usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
fire walking
the ceremony of walking barefoot over hot stones or a bed of embers
formalities, formality
a requirement of etiquette or custom
a public ceremony on Maundy Thursday when the monarch distributes Maundy money
a ceremonial feast held by some Indians of the northwestern coast of North America (as in celebrating a marriage or a new accession) in which the host gives gifts to tribesmen and others to display his superior wealth (sometimes, formerly, to his own impoverishment)
inaugural, inauguration
the ceremonial induction into a position
burial, entombment, inhumation, interment, sepulture
the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave
sky burial
a traditional Tibetan funeral ritual in which the corpse is exposed to the open air to be eaten by sacred vultures
a new dedication
coronation, enthronement, enthronisation, enthronization, investiture
the ceremony of installing a new monarch
bar mitzvah
(Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility
bas mitzvah, bat mitzvah, bath mitzvah
(Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 12th birthday of a Jewish girl and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility
commencement, commencement ceremony, commencement exercise, graduation, graduation exercise
an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred
Type of:
affair, function, occasion, social function, social occasion
a vaguely specified social event

n any activity that is performed in an especially solemn elaborate or formal way

“the ceremony of smelling the cork and tasting the wine”
“he makes a ceremony of addressing his golf ball”
“he disposed of it without ceremony
chanoyu, tea ceremony
an ancient ritual for preparing and serving and drinking tea
Type of:
any specific behavior

n the proper or conventional behavior on some solemn occasion

“an inaugural ceremony
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groundbreaking, groundbreaking ceremony
the ceremonial breaking of the ground to formally begin a construction project
purgation, purification
a ceremonial cleansing from defilement or uncleanness by the performance of appropriate rites
a ceremonial purification of the Roman population every five years following the census
religious ceremony, religious ritual
a ceremony having religious meaning
military ceremony
a military custom performed in observance of some event or anniversary
the activity of formally presenting something (as a prize or reward)
agape, love feast
a religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship
religious rite, rite
an established ceremony prescribed by a religion
divine service, religious service, service
the act of public worship following prescribed rules
a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace on those who receive it; the two Protestant ceremonies are baptism and the Lord's Supper; in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church there are seven traditional rites accepted as instituted by Jesus: baptism and confirmation and Holy Eucharist and penance and holy orders and matrimony and extreme unction
a ceremony held in the synagogue (usually at Pentecost) to admit as adult members of the Jewish community young men and women who have successfully completed a course of study in Judaism
a religious ceremony in which something is made holy
Oblation, religious offering
the act of offering the bread and wine of the Eucharist
inunction, unction
anointing as part of a religious ceremony or healing ritual
the act of pouring a liquid offering (especially wine) as a religious ceremony
(Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Churches) the celebration of the Eucharist
Type of:
any specific behavior

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