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

But hair wasn’t the only way a 19th-century girl could express her devotion to a friend. Sara Petersen, Vox, "Why do we stop giving meaningful gifts to our friends?," 3 Dec. 2018 And will Sabrina really do the Dark Lord’s bidding after a full season of questioning her devotion to the Church of Night and its stifling rules? Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 2: Questions We Need to Be Answered After That Finale," 26 Oct. 2018 Prove your devotion to the internet's new boyfriend with this trivia quiz. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The Ultimate Noah Centineo Trivia Quiz!," 29 Aug. 2018 Days before the alleged attack, Ness had posted pictures of his family on Facebook, expressing his devotion to them and Jesus, the Dallas Morning News reported. Fox News, "Texas dad charged with capital murder in stabbing death of 16-month-old son," 22 Aug. 2018 Vince McMahon has had a handful of other larger-than-life characters as the face of the company, but no one has ever represented WWE with such dedication or devotion as Cena. Justin Barrasso,, "John Cena On Hosting Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, Rey Mysterio and Rob Gronkowski in WWE," 7 Mar. 2018 Most of that extra work time is driven by personal devotion and not management pressure, according to multiple Rockstar employees. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Rockstar developers speak out about “100-hour weeks” comment," 18 Oct. 2018 But there is a rose worthy of such poetic devotion and one that has stayed above the fray of the breeding revolution. Adrian Higgins, sacbee, "As for beauty and fragrance, the rambler comes up roses," 15 June 2018 Family members took turns speaking about her wit, devotion, and literacy and generosity. Fox News, "Rep. Devin Nunes: DNC lawsuit 'must be a joke'," 23 Apr. 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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Statistics for devotion

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devotion

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

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More Definitions for devotion



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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