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

Definition of adulation

: 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

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Other Words from adulation

adulate \ ˈa-​jə-​ˌlāt How to pronounce adulation (audio) , -​dyə-​ , -​də-​ \ transitive verb adulated; adulating; adulates
adulator \ ˈa-​jə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce adulation (audio) \ noun
adulatory \ ˈa-​jə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce adulation (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 15th 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 Freed from the complexities of language or the context of history, the former president spins a dreamscape of adulation and triumph. Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2022 Johnson stopped and posed, enjoying adulation from the fans inside Arena. Broderick Turnerstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Tanned, slim, and with a gleaming smile, the 22-year-old prince enjoyed a level of public adulation that would never be equaled. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, 13 Mar. 2022 Davis’s most surprising contribution is to show how adulation of the natural world can accelerate its destruction. Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic, 15 Feb. 2022 Sentiment among China’s outspoken nationalists is notoriously fickle, and swings from adulation to attack are also common for ethnically Chinese competing for other nations. Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2022 But maybe the victory will always be trivial given the experience of receiving so much adulation from the fans. oregonlive, 30 Mar. 2022 At the height of her powers, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the fraudulent blood-testing start-up Theranos, basked in the kind of adulation typically reserved for cult leaders. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 22 Mar. 2022 Cookie suggests that was not love, but at the moment, Magic seems incapable of separating blind adulation from the kind of sincere and personal love Cookie clearly wants from him. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Adulation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on adulation

Britannica English: Translation of adulation for Arabic Speakers


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