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

Definition of religion

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Archie's family was supported by the Christian Concern, which campaigns on end-of-life issues and the role of religion in society. Danica Kirka, ajc, 6 Aug. 2022 Some of these churches are militant, and some are basically militias operating under the guise of religion. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2022 Because the case is filed under the state's Human Rights Act, Aitkin County District Judge David Hermerding said Badeaux cannot raise federal constitutional issues such as freedom of religion at the trial. CBS News, 2 Aug. 2022 Aitkin County District Judge David Hermerding has already ruled that Badeaux can’t raise federal constitutional issues such as freedom of religion at the trial, although he will be allowed to explain his beliefs to the jury. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 1 Aug. 2022 The service members claim their statutory and constitutional rights to free exercise of religion are being violated by the government's mandate, which was issued in August 2021. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 29 July 2022 Reports of religion’s decline in America have been exaggerated. Byron R. Johnson And Jeff Levin, WSJ, 28 July 2022 Government involvement in religious affairs doesn't aid the free exercise of religion. Amanda Tyler, CNN, 27 July 2022 Rabbi Aaron Spiegel argued against the bill for fewer restrictions, saying that the ban from conception is against the beliefs of Judaism and therefore not coherent with the Constitution's pledge to freedom of religion. Kyla Guilfoil, ABC News, 25 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of religion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near religion

religio loci



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Statistics for religion

Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Religion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for religion


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

More from Merriam-Webster on religion

Nglish: Translation of religion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of religion for Arabic Speakers


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