ad·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌa-jə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce adulation (audio) , -dyə, -də- \

Definition of adulation

: excessive or slavish admiration or flattery enjoys the adulation of his fans

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Other Words from adulation

adulate \ ˈa-​jə-​ˌlāt How to pronounce adulate (audio) , -​dyə-​ , -​də-​ \ transitive verb
adulator \ ˈa-​jə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce adulator (audio) \ noun
adulatory \ ˈa-​jə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce adulatory (audio) \ adjective
adulatory crowds

Did You Know?

If "adulation" makes you think of a dog panting after its master, you're on the right etymological track; the word ultimately derives from the Latin verb adulari, meaning "to fawn on" (a sense used specifically of the affectionate behavior of dogs) or "to flatter." "Adulation," which came to us from Latin by way of Old French, can be traced back as far as the 14th century in English. The verb "adulate," the noun "adulator," and the adjective "adulatory" later joined the language.

Examples of adulation in a Sentence

The rugby player enjoyed the adulation of his fans. a writer who inspires adulation in her readers
Recent Examples on the Web People who ignore the no-gift wish should not be rewarded with public adulation, which will no doubt make others feel bad. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "The joy of a no-gift Christmas. Believe people when they say not to give a present.," 14 Dec. 2019 The president traveled to Battle Creek, Mich., to bask in the adulation of his adoring fan base. Washington Post, "The impeachment vote felt like a funeral. But what died?," 19 Dec. 2019 But Earhart was determined to earn her adulation and prove—to men and women—that women could accomplish what men could. Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic, "Why does Amelia Earhart still fascinate us?," 17 Oct. 2019 In the century following his death, African-American performers would change the whole landscape of global music, some of them rising to the highest peaks of fame and adulation. Ted Gioia, Smithsonian, "The Tragic Story of America’s First Black Music Star," 18 Oct. 2019 But rather than merely soak in the adulation, the former San Francisco 49ers receiver is taking an active part in contextualizing some of the NFL's seminal moments. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Jerry Rice: Running back Jim Brown is the greatest player in NFL history," 4 Oct. 2019 For Western celebrities, particularly those on the wane and with pretensions to freethinking, Russia can offer fresh adulation and fat paychecks for their pinch of stardust. James Marson, WSJ, "An American Heavyweight Infiltrates Russian Politics—and the Russians Are All for It," 30 Sep. 2018 Expect outrage and adulation and a fresh avalanche of think pieces once Phoenix secures his nomination. Los Angeles Times, "‘Joker’ brings anarchy to awards season at Toronto Film Festival," 10 Sep. 2019 Might Trump have feared that he would be met with protests and then have to watch Obama bask in the adulation of much bigger crowds? Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: The unhinged presidency," 25 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adulation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adulation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for adulation

Middle English adulacioun "insincere praise, flattery," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin adūlātiōn-, adūlātiō, from adūlārī "to fawn upon (of dogs), praise insincerely" (of uncertain origin) + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

Note: On the presumption that it is a denominal verb, Latin adūlārī has been compared with Sanskrit vāla-, vāra- "hair of a horse's tail, horsehair," Lithuanian valaĩ "horse's tail," though this is difficult both semantically and phonetically. More recently, the base of Latin avidus "greedy, eager" has been proposed as a source (see avid), via a prefixed *ad-awido-, syncopated to *ad-audo-, then with the second d dissimilated to l, yielding *adūlo-, "eagerly seeking something, flattering."

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Time Traveler for adulation

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The first known use of adulation was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adulation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for adulation


ad·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌa-jə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce adulation (audio) \

Kids Definition of adulation

: very great admiration

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More from Merriam-Webster on adulation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adulation

Spanish Central: Translation of adulation

Britannica English: Translation of adulation for Arabic Speakers

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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