re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən \

Definition of religion

1a : the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
b(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

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Other Words from religion

religionless \ ri-​ˈli-​jən-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for religion


credo, creed, cult, faith, persuasion

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Examples of religion in a Sentence

Many people turn to religion for comfort in a time of crisis. There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Shinto is a religion that is unique to Japan. Hockey is a religion in Canada. Politics are a religion to him. Where I live, high school football is religion. Food is religion in this house.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even more frustrating is that the situation further reinforced the stereotype of black homophobia — a myth that suggests black people are more inherently homophobic given their cultural exchanges in hip-hop and religion. Ernest Owens, Vox, "What it’s like to be black and gay watching the Kevin Hart controversy unfold.," 7 Jan. 2019 After all, art and religion were inextricable for Sister Wendy. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Sister Wendy Beckett, the Nun Who Made Art History Into Must-Watch TV, Has Died," 27 Dec. 2018 The commission asks the court to enjoin Halliburton from discriminating on the basis of national origin and religion. Bloomberg, Houston Chronicle, "Halliburton sued by EEOC for allowing harassment of Muslims," 3 July 2018 By 3:00 am, positive emotions are at their lowest, and topics like death and religion have peaked. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "Twitter Users Are Analytical in the Morning, Angsty at Night," 22 June 2018 Appropriate, not appropriate: Don’t dress up as a race/religion/cultural group that is not your own. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "BottleRock 2018: Tips on how to rock Napa’s biggest music festival," 24 May 2018 For 200 years relative silence followed, as economists avoided sophisticated debates about religion. Sriya Iyer, WSJ, "The Marketplace of Faith," 27 Dec. 2018 In partnership with the network, the news anchor just launched Journeys of Faith With Paula Faris, which aims to have an open and honest discussion about religion. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why Paula Faris Left 'Weekend Good Morning America' and Started a Podcast About Faith," 14 Nov. 2018 Republicans retaliated by accusing the minority party of being anti-religion. Amy Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Religious liberty becomes a main focus for conservatives in Supreme Court nomination," 7 July 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for religion

Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely

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Statistics for religion

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for religion

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

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More Definitions for religion



English Language Learners Definition of religion

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
informal : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group


re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən \

Kids Definition of religion

1 : the belief in and worship of God or gods
2 : a system of religious beliefs and practices

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More from Merriam-Webster on religion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with religion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for religion

Spanish Central: Translation of religion

Nglish: Translation of religion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of religion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on religion

What made you want to look up religion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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