ceremonial, ceremonious
1. Ceremonial, meaning ‘with or concerning ritual or ceremony’, is a neutral descriptive adjective (as in ceremonial occasions / ceremonial dress / for ceremonial reasons). Ceremonious, meaning ‘having or showing a fondness for ceremony’, is a more evaluative and judgemental word. The difference can be seen by contrasting ceremonial entry with ceremonious entry: the first is an entry (in the abstract sense) marked by normal ceremony, whereas the second is an affectedly elaborate or grand entry (in the physical sense). Examples:

• Lord Mackan has had a busy programme of special ceremonial events on top of his normal Household chores —Sunday Express, 1981

• On the far side of the hearth the headman was sitting with his legs crossed, his back very straight, ceremoniously smoking a hookah —M. Connell, 1991.

2. Ceremonial is also used as a noun, meaning ‘proper formalities’:

• He had had to fight for everything he had done, fight the people who wanted to wrap him up safely and wheel him out for a bit of ribbon-cutting and ceremonial —P. Junor, 1991.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ceremonious — Cer e*mo ni*ous, a. [Cf. F. c[ e]r[ e]monieux, L. Caerimoniosus.] 1. Consisting of outward forms and rites; ceremonial. Note: [In this sense ceremonial is now preferred.] [1913 Webster] The ceremonious part of His worship. South. [1913 Webster] 2 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ceremonious — index formal, official, punctilious, solemn Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • ceremonious — 1550s, from Fr. cérémonieux, from L.L. cærimoniosus, from L. cærimonia (see CEREMONY (Cf. ceremony)). Meaning full of show and ceremony is from 1610s. Related: Ceremoniously …   Etymology dictionary

  • ceremonious — *ceremonial, formal, solemn, conventional Analogous words: impressive, *moving: *decorous, seemly, proper: stately, imposing, majestic, grandiose (see GRAND) Antonyms: unceremonious, informal …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • ceremonious — [adj] ritual, formal civil, courteous, courtly, decorous, deferential, dignified, exact, grandiose, impressive, majestic, moving, precise, proper, punctilious, seemly, solemn, starchy, stately, stiff, striking; concept 548 Ant. informal, relaxed …   New thesaurus

  • ceremonious — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ relating or appropriate to grand and formal occasions. DERIVATIVES ceremoniously adverb ceremoniousness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • ceremonious — [ser΄ə mō′nē əs] adj. [Fr cérémonieux] 1. ceremonial 2. full of ceremony 3. characterized by conventional usages or formality; very polite 4. excessively formal or proper ceremoniously adv. ceremoniousness n …   English World dictionary

  • ceremonious — adjective Date: 1553 1. devoted to forms and ceremony ; punctilious < ceremonious courtiers > 2. of, relating to, or constituting a ceremony < a ceremonious occasion > 3. according to formal usage or prescribed procedures < the …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ceremonious — ceremoniously, adv. ceremoniousness, n. /ser euh moh nee euhs/, adj. 1. carefully observant of ceremony; formally or elaborately polite: He greeted his rival with a ceremonious display of friendship. 2. pertaining to, marked by, or consisting of… …   Universalium

  • ceremonious — See ceremonial, ceremonious …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

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