re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən How to pronounce religion (audio) \

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 How to pronounce religion (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for religion


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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 Militants and radical religious groups spread claims that the polio vaccine is a Western ploy to sterilize Muslim children or turn them away from religion. Author: Kathy Gannon, Andrew Meldrum And Lee Keath, Anchorage Daily News, "Wars, instability pose vaccine challenges in poor nations," 28 Dec. 2020 Militants and radical religious groups spread claims that the polio vaccine is a Western ploy to sterilize Muslim children or turn them away from religion. Fox News, "Wars, instability pose coronavirus vaccine challenges in poor nations," 28 Dec. 2020 Christmas is celebrated by 71% of USA while only 6% are non-Christian and 15% are not affiliated with any religion. The Rev. Ellin Dize,, "Dize: Jesus is the reason for the season; swing the pendulum in the direction of love | RELIGION COMMENTARY," 19 Dec. 2020 For years, Issac and Faigy talked about Issac’s problems with religion. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, "When One Parent Leaves a Hasidic Community, What Happens to the Kids?," 30 Nov. 2020 The girl, who is not affiliated with any religion, apologized, said her mother, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Magali. New York Times, "France’s Dragnet for Extremists Sweeps Up Some Schoolchildren, Too," 23 Nov. 2020 With his long, curly hair and hipster-casual attire, Feucht is not afraid to mix politics with religion. Keith Spera,, "Spera: Sean Feucht, Lauren Daigle preached irresponsibility at French Quarter worship event," 10 Nov. 2020 This separation of terror from religion is a sentiment that has characterized Austrian society’s response. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, "As lone wolf attacks go up, can Europe keep Islamophobia down?," 6 Nov. 2020 Meanwhile, 26 percent of us don't identify with any organized religion and 7 percent of us belong to non-Christian religions. Arkansas Online, "Upside down," 24 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for religion

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for religion

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Religion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for religion


How to pronounce religion (audio)

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 How to pronounce religion (audio) \

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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Comments on religion

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