AskDefine | Define rite

Dictionary Definition



1 an established ceremony prescribed by a religion; "the rite of baptism" [syn: religious rite]
2 any customary observance or practice [syn: ritual]

User Contributed Dictionary



Via Middle English and Old French from Latin ritus


  • rīt
  • /ɹaɪt/


  1. religious custom

Related terms





  • lang=ga|[ˈɾˠɪtʲɪ]


  1. Form of past participle, rith

Extensive Definition

A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act or process art. Rites fall into three major categories:


Within Christianity, "rite" often refers to what is also called a sacrament or to the ceremonies associated with the sacraments. In Roman Catholicism, for example, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is one of the three that are administered to someone who is dying or is seriously ill. Because in the years before the Second Vatican Council the Anointing of the Sick was reserved for those in immediate danger of death, it was traditionally known as the last rites. Others sacraments that could be celebrated with the Anointing of the Sick included Penance and Eucharist (administered as Viaticum in the case of a dying person).
The term also refers to a body of liturgical tradition usually emanating from a specific center. Examples include the Roman Rite, the Byzantine Rite, and the Sarum Rite. Such rites may include various sub-rites. For example, the Byzantine Rite has Greek, Russian, and other ethnically-based variants. For a full list of Christian liturgical rites, see Christian liturgy.


In North America, Freemasons have the option of joining the Scottish Rite and/or the York Rite, two appendant bodies that offer additional degrees to those who have taken the basic three.

See also

rite in Czech: Ritus
rite in Danish: Ritus
rite in German: Ritus
rite in Spanish: Rito
rite in Esperanto: Rito
rite in French: Rite
rite in Indonesian: Ritus
rite in Italian: Rito
rite in Dutch: Rite (religie)
rite in Polish: Obrządek
rite in Portuguese: Rito
rite in Russian: Обряд
rite in Sicilian: Riti (attrezzu)
rite in Finnish: Riitti
rite in Swedish: Rit
rite in Ukrainian: Обряд

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

amenities, anniversaries, baccalaureate service, celebrating, celebration, ceremonial, ceremonies, ceremony, civilities, commemoration, commencement, convocation, custom, dignities, dressing ship, duty, elegancies, empty formality, exercise, exercises, fanfare, fanfaronade, festivity, flourish of trumpets, form, form of worship, formal, formalities, formality, formula, formulary, function, gentilities, graces, graduation, graduation exercises, holiday, holy rite, inaugural, inauguration, initiation, institution, jubilee, liturgy, marking the occasion, memorialization, memory, mode of worship, mummery, mystery, observance, occasion, office, order of worship, ordinance, ovation, performance, practice, prescribed form, procedure, rejoicing, religious ceremony, religious rites, remembrance, revel, rite de passage, rite of passage, rites, ritual, ritual observance, rituality, rituals, routine, sacrament, sacramental, salute, salvo, service, solemn observance, solemnity, solemnization, testimonial, testimonial banquet, testimonial dinner, toast, tribute, triumph
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