ad·​u·​la·​tion ˌa-jə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce adulation (audio)
: extreme or excessive admiration or flattery
Celebrities often feed off the adulation of fans, but that acclaim can be fleeting and illusory.Ruben Castenada
During the campaign, he basked in the adulation of his fans and emphasized the promises that drew the biggest applause and the most retweets …Peter Coy
… she thought he'd be an egomaniac, spoiled by fame and public adulation.Maureen Callahan
… is only starting to reach the level of popular and critical adulation that bands work their entire lives to achieve …Steve Kandell
He had not fully understood his achievement until he returned home to an outpouring of adulation from local media.David Müller
ˈa-jə-ˌlāt How to pronounce adulation (audio)
transitive verb
adulated; adulating; adulates
adulator noun
adulatory adjective
adulatory crowds

Did you know?

If adulation makes you think of a dog panting after its beloved person, you're on the right etymological track; the word ultimately comes from the Latin verb adūlārī, meaning "to fawn on" (a sense used specifically of the affectionate behavior of dogs) or "to praise insincerely." Adulation has been in use in English since the 15th century. The verb adulate, noun adulator, and adjective adulatory later followed dutifully behind.

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 Smart wondered aloud where all this adulation was 20 years ago. J Wortham, New York Times, 12 May 2024 Despite his ambivalence about all that adulation, the frenzy fueled his budding music career. Jp Mangalindan, Peoplemag, 28 Apr. 2024 Even better than the adulation in his view is the fact that, owing to his feats and that of other Italian players in recent years—Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Fabio Fognini, Matteo Berrettini—more Italians are picking up tennis rackets. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, 4 Apr. 2024 Hassled by his fans’ adulation, Tommy instructs his followers to go find truth for themselves. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2024 Despite receiving critical adulation and building a huge fanbase on social media, Cam & China are overly familiar with the hardships and exploitation that have historically plagued L.A. female rappers. Liz Sanchez, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 And even after his death in 1828, at 31, when many of his works enjoyed posthumous adulation and were performed widely, none of his theatrical undertakings entered the standard repertoire. Joshua Barone, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Chopra, rarely overwhelmed by such adulation, is taking public recognition in his stride. George Ramsay, CNN, 11 Mar. 2024 At the data-mining center, Garnett — and later, Enzo Cilenti as Rico Anzalone, an even oilier scammer at an even larger sister operation — preens and postures like Jordan Belfort receiving the adulation of his brokerage acolytes in The Wolf of Wall Street. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adulation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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."

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near adulation

Cite this Entry

“Adulation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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