rite / rīt/ • n. a religious or other solemn ceremony or act: the rite of communion fertility rites. ∎ a body of customary observances characteristic of a church or a part of it: the Byzantine rite. ∎ a social custom, practice, or conventional act: the family Christmas rite. PHRASES: rite of passage a ceremony or event marking an important stage in someone's life, esp. birth, puberty, marriage, and death: a novel that depicts the state of adolescence and the rites of passage that lead to adulthood.
So ritual (-AL1) pert. to rites XVI; sb. (book containing) prescribed order of the performance of rites XVII. — L. rītuālis; in sb. use after medL. rituāle, sb. use of n. sg. ritualist one versed in ritual or who advocates its observance. XVII; hence ritualism XIX.
1. A form of liturgical worship.
2. Any of the major local types or families of ancient liturgies, e.g. the Latin, Byzantine, and Mozarabic rites, and the churches where these were practised and their modern descendants.
3. In Catholic use, a division of Catholic Christendom.