n. pl. cer·e·mo·nies
1. A formal act or set of acts performed as prescribed by ritual or custom: a wedding ceremony; the Japanese tea ceremony.
2. A conventional social gesture or act of courtesy: the ceremony of shaking hands when introduced.
3. A formal act without intrinsic purpose; an empty form: ignored the ceremony of asking for comments from other committee members.
4. Strict observance of formalities or etiquette: The head of state was welcomed with full ceremony.
[Middle English ceremonie, from Latin caerimōnia, religious rite.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.