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adjective pi·ous \ˈpī-əs\

Simple Definition of pious

  • : deeply religious : devoted to a particular religion

  • : falsely appearing to be good or moral

Full Definition of pious

  1. 1 a :  marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship b :  marked by conspicuous religiosity <a hypocrite—a thing all pious words and uncharitable deeds — Charles Reade>

  2. 2 :  sacred or devotional as distinct from the profane or secular :  religious <a pious opinion>

  3. 3 :  showing loyal reverence for a person or thing :  dutiful

  4. 4 a :  marked by sham or hypocrisy b :  marked by self-conscious virtue :  virtuous

  5. 5 :  deserving commendation :  worthy <a pious effort>

pi·ous·ly adverb
pi·ous·ness noun

Examples of pious

  1. We must ask to what extent, and at however unconscious a level, a conflict arises in the pious political mind when it is sworn to uphold the civil religion of the Constitution. —E. L. Doctorow, Free Inquiry, October/November 2008

  2. But our problem is the lack of any shared or coherent attitude toward the rest of the world, without which, as Judt acknowledges, Europe exists in pieces, an outsize Switzerland held together by nothing more solid than pious sentiment. —Nicholas Fraser, Harper's, May 2006

  3. The other side of the masonry block was covered with a web of ancient graffiti, she said, left by pious visitors to the tomb. —Tom Mueller, Atlantic, October 2003

  4. The news offered so many occasions for pious or ribald commentary that any chance of agreement about what any of it meant was lost in a vast din of clucking and sniggering. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, August 1997

  5. Japanese schools have another eccentricity, which is the pious, Sunday-school-like enthusiasm of students and teachers alike for education about values. Teachers sometimes sound so saccharine that they would make Mr. Rogers look like a cynic. —Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times Magazine, 17 Aug. 1997

  6. They lived a quiet, pious life.

  7. I'm tired of hearing politicians making pious pronouncements about their devotion to the people.

Origin of pious

Middle English, from Latin pius

First Known Use: 15th century

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Rhymes with pious

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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