de·vo·tion | \di-ˈvō-shən, dē-\

Definition of devotion 

1a : religious fervor : piety

b : an act of prayer or private worship usually used in plural during his morning devotions

c : a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate (see corporate sense 2) worship of a congregation

2a : the act of dedicating something to a cause, enterprise, or activity : the act of devoting the devotion of a great deal of time and energy

b : the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal her devotion to the cause filial devotion

3 obsolete : the object of one's devotion

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Choose the Right Synonym for devotion

fidelity, allegiance, fealty, loyalty, devotion, piety mean faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty. fidelity implies strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty. marital fidelity allegiance suggests an adherence like that of citizens to their country. pledging allegiance fealty implies a fidelity acknowledged by the individual and as compelling as a sworn vow. fealty to the truth loyalty implies a faithfulness that is steadfast in the face of any temptation to renounce, desert, or betray. valued the loyalty of his friends devotion stresses zeal and service amounting to self-dedication. a painter's devotion to her art piety stresses fidelity to obligations regarded as natural and fundamental. filial piety

Devotion Has Latin Roots

When we take a vow, we pledge our devotion—whether to remain true to a partner, to uphold the law, or to honor the word of God. It should be no surprise then that devotion and its related verb devote come from the act of taking a vow. Both words originate from Latin devotus, which is the past participle of devovēre, a union of the prefix de- ("from") and the verb vovēre ("to vow"). Devote was once used as an adjective that could mean either "devout" or "devoted." While devout often connotes faithfulness of a religious nature, the adjective devoted conveys the sense of one's commitment to another through love and loyalty ("a devoted husband and father"; "the singer's devoted fans").

Examples of devotion in a Sentence

She has cared for the poor with selfless devotion. The devotion they felt for each other was obvious. The project will require the devotion of a great deal of time and money. They spend an hour each morning at their devotions.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While his gamesmanship, chirping and constant working of the referees have often made Paul a polarizing figure, his devotion to his craft is unimpeachable. Ben Golliver,, "Rockets’ Upset Hopes Hang on Chris Paul’s Hamstring," 25 May 2018 His devotion to John Williams, for one, is the gift that keeps giving — most recently in Wednesday’s special program benefiting the orchestra musicians’ pension fund, with composer and conductor sharing the podium. David Patrick Stearns,, "Denève gives Philadelphia Orchestra patrons another round of Guillaume Connesson," 20 Apr. 2018 Reiss' devotion to Schwarzenegger's agenda was a testament to their close personal connection. John Myers,, "Bonnie Reiss, early and key advisor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, dies at 62," 3 Apr. 2018 But lately sports fans have been penalized for their devotion with astronomical ticket prices. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "Don’t Take Me Out to the Ballgame—I Can’t Afford It," 12 July 2018 Coral Gables is renowned for its devotion to architectural preservation: The city even declared a home historic after someone bought it as a tear-down to halt its demolition and protect the Gables' Mediterranean patrimony. Andres Viglucci, miamiherald, "Famed for protecting historic buildings, this city wants to bulldoze one. For parking.," 29 June 2018 Barbara Bush’s devotion to literacy also dotted each speech - her national literacy foundation has raised more than $110 million since its start - as did her kindness to many friends and acquaintances. Jacob Carpenter And Emily Foxhall, San Antonio Express-News, "Thousands honor nation’s first mother as she is laid to rest," 21 Apr. 2018 Sarah’s devotion to her spooky mansion has raised alarm, ditto her proclamations that the estate is haunted by victims of Winchester firearms. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Paranormal The new horror film Winchester is a missed opportunity," 6 Feb. 2018 Beneke worries that devotion to the Patriots can overshadow other kinds of faith. Bob Smietana, Washington Post, "For Tom Brady, football has become religion. No, really.," 4 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devotion.' 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 devotion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for devotion

see devote

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devotion

The first known use of devotion was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of devotion

: a feeling of strong love or loyalty : the quality of being devoted

: the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose

devotions : prayer, worship, or other religious activities that are done in private rather than in a religious service


de·vo·tion | \di-ˈvō-shən \

Kids Definition of devotion

1 : deep love or loyalty

2 : an act of giving (as effort or time) to something His devotion of many hours of work was rewarded.

3 : a religious exercise or practice (as prayers) especially that is private

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